Posted by: Silver | January 20, 2013

Greetings from the Canadian winter!

It suddenly occurred to me that it had been an unforgivably long time since I last posted anything here, so let me bring you all up to date. I’m still in Lachute, QC, at the moment, living through my first full Canadian winter (if you remember, I popped down to see my Dad for Christmas in previous years). -20ºC, knee-deep snow… it’s lovely!

No, honestly, it is!

Before I came to Canada, I had this sneaking suspicion that everyone who said they enjoyed the Canadian winter was actually just in a collective state of denial, desperately trying to put a brave face on things, and that when people came out with the old chestnut, “Ah, but winter’s different in Canada”, they were just trying to bolster their delusion by sucking me into it as well. After all, -20 is -20, right?

Well, scientifically speaking, of course it is… but I’ve finally had to concede that winter really is different here. If I happen to throw in a casual mention of walking down to the grocery store at -20ºC the other day, I just know that every Brit reading this is going to instantly shudder, wince, and investigate getting me some professional help. But it honestly was perfectly pleasant. The sun was shining, the sidewalk was ploughed, and with only a pair of thermal leggings to differentiate my attire from what I would wear in a British winter, I was entirely comfortable.

Of course, if the wind starts blowing, then it’s a different story…

But for the most part, the winter really hasn’t been a problem. Snow shovelling is good exercise, I’ve found, and you don’t have to do it every day… because it doesn’t snow every day! (Yeah, that was one naive preconception that I didn’t really think through, eh?) I flatter myself that I’ve pretty much got the hang of walking on snow now, too (even when ploughed, sidewalks still tend to have a bit of snow on them): it definitely requires a different gait, it’s definitely not quite as elegant as ‘normal’ walking, but it’s definitely more elegant than crashing down onto your backside with that unmistakeable look of surprise and horror on your face as you suddenly remember your obligation to obey the laws of friction and gravity. Head out onto the unploughed golf course behind your host’s house, and you also discover that it’s extremely good exercise for legs that are no longer cycling umpty-twiddle kilometres a day! And it is SO pretty… 🙂

In other news, writing the book has had to take a bit of a back seat to the trifling matters of finding a permanent place to live and an income to pay for it, but it is still on the agenda… keep watching this space for further news!

Sunset on Christmas Day

Sunset on Christmas Day

Even on dull days, it's still pretty!

Even on dull days, it’s still pretty!



  1. Ah, Tana, you would have laughed at me last night! First, we got about 30 cm of snow here on Manitoulinj Island which changed to rain in the middle of the night. So, of course, I lost my Bell signal for the tv and I am out in the rain with big rubber boots and an old coat on and carrying a broom to brush off the Bell dish. Ploughing through the snow to get to the back of the house. Happens every winter!

  2. Hope you were able to warm up again in front of the TV afterwards, Betty!

  3. We’ve got snow in Ingerland too – maybe all of 5 centimetres! But no minus 20, not yet anyway.
    Good luck with home/income search.
    Best wishes, John.

  4. Went to Lapland over Christmas. 67 degrees north, 41 degrees below! Thermals are in order.

  5. I agree winter is different further north, like in north Sweden. My theory is that it is the British humidity which makes it feel so miserable here. I think that -5 here in the UK feels far worse than -20 in north Sweden. The fact that I dress better for it in Sweden than I do here probably also matters.

    It snowed all day here in Cambridge yesterday, and today it’s only around 0 degrees and really very lovely!

    Fingers crossed for your job/house hunting!

  6. Nice to hear from you Silver. And glad to hear you are enjoying Canadian winter. It is beautiful isn’t it. I’m sure one day you will also have an opportunity to skate, ski, toboggan, snowshoe and enjoy other heavenly outdoor winter pursuits. But don’t wait for the right opportunity to make a snow angel – you only need snow and a warm layer of clothing. Enjoy!

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