Monday, November 27, 2006

from the "winter blues" dept.

Originally uploaded by borderfilms (Doug).

Vancouver BC after a rare dump of snow.

So here's the deal: I've had the opportunity to live across Canada. Born in Halifax, raised in Winnipeg. Thunder Bay, Ontario for college. Portage la Prairie, Manitoba for that first job. Then Halifax, NS for six years. Then back to Winnipeg for a few. And eventually I landed in Vancouver (though that too comes to an end when I move to Takoradi, Ghana in January).

Most people know Canada as the land of winter. We wear it like a badge of honour while complaining about scraping the car windows and clearing the walk. But we love it because it reminds of who we are and where we are.

But you might not know that the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, on Canada's Pacific coast, is a bit of a freak of nature.

Owing to things like mountains and ocean currents, the southwestern bit of Canada rarely sees what the rest of the country calls winter. Sure, we get snow in the mountains, but that's more like winter on demand. Want snow? Drive to top of mountain. Want beach? Drive to waters edge.

At the lower elevations, Vancouver rarely freezes and rarely gets a big white dump more than once a year. Usually it's never more than a cm or two. Normally, endless amounts of rain fall from the skies during the winter months.

Just a couple of centimetres of snow is enough to cause chaos in a city with little more than a straw broom and a couple of shovels in its snowclearing kit.

The 2006 dump arrived on Saturday (Nov 25) and, as I write this, continues. Where I live, in the south part of Vancouver, we've had about at least 20 cm -- transforming my home into an absolute wonderland.

All the while, people living in places where the snow lasts for months wonder what the big deal is.

It's a Vancouver thing. It's a reminder that we're in Canada and that every once in a while our home becomes a winter wonderland, just like in the rest of the country.

Thankfully, it doesn't last for four months! :)

No comments: