Monday, June 7, 2010

Winnipeg Love Letters -- E is for Extreme Weather

I LOVE WINTER. In Winnipeg. There. I said it. Sorry, what's that? You're shaking your head and calling the therapist? Oh c'mon, I'm not really that nutters. Four out of four people in my family recently polled all declared the same. And believe-you-me, for a girl who grew up on the temperate west coast, this love of winter came as a bit of a surprise. 

In Vancouver, I would whole-heartedly agree with neighbours when they exclaimed (after the fifth consecutive month of rain) "Hey, at least we don't have to shovel it like the rest of the suckers in Canada!" Now granted I don't actually have to shovel here (thanks Jay), but the crunch of the snow, the sparkle of it, the blinding reflected light is like a shiny little miracle to me. And speaking of light: seasonal affective disorder begone! But woe are the sunglass-less eyeballs peering at endless bright blue sunny skies of Winnipeg winters. Now that hurts. 

During our first winter here I realized something: I felt like a real Canadian. I finally got all the snow and cold jokes. I loved the idea of the outdoor skating rink just down the street. I love layering up. I love my utterly unsexy snowpants. I love watching the kamikaze winter cyclists bearing down in -40C (my hubby being one of them). And I love love LOVE the Snow Beard (it's when ice crystals form on anything with the slightest bit of moisture). It's pioneer-sexy!

Sure, a lot of you out there already know you hate winter. I can respect that. But this love note is for closeted winter-people. Especially those who live in places where the rest of the country think it's unbearably extreme. It isn't. For once, I'd like to see Winnipeg Tourism actually develop a destination campaign on how the city  shines in winter. 'Cos it really does. It shines so much, you better not forget your sunglasses.


Niki Inglis said...

just catching up here, Sande. NICE!
I just have to tell you about this conversation that my mum and i have EVERY year. (backstory, i grew up in new brunswick where 2 metres plus of snow is normal. she still lives there). It goes something like this:
me: how are you? her: great. me: how's the weather? her: it's snowing. me: oh frig, i'm sorry, that's horrible. her: oh, it's just BEAUTIFUL. me: yeah, sure. her: and tomorrow it will be all sparkly and gorgeous. me: un-huh. her: i just LOVE the snow. i can't IMAGINE living in all that rain. me: okay, mum, gotta go NOT SHOVEL! her: Oh, you should SEE the backyard, sooo fabulous. i think it may be starting to SPARKLE already....etc. etc. etc.
So, i do hear ya sister. AND I do believe it's largely in the mind. However, MY mind just spent a cold and chilly winter five months trudging through the snowiest Bernese winter in many a year....lookin forward to some RAIN! (and then check back with me in november when i have to go to a tanning bed to alleviate SAD ;-)

perogy pile said...

I miss winter so badly...this post reminded me how wonderful Winnipeg winters can be!

Olivebits said...

Niki: i should probably include a caveat somewhere that says I've only truly experienced a "dry cold" winter, with lots of sun. Cos I've felt Ottawa in -10C for a dull, dreary day and THAT's not fun! So as I say, I can respect people for that. As for you, Romykins, pass along to all your ex-pat peggies for a little nostaglia :)

Sophie said...

Sande, I love winter...especially when I can have a hot grog, a nice fire roasting my feet and a cat on my lap, just purring away. Heaven!

Down here, we have actual raves outdoor, in the winter, next to the water front. As long as you dance, all the dangly bits will survive ; )