Winter in CanadaIt has been a long winter.  However, if you check the calendar, winter is about the same every year.  It just so happens that this year we have had consistently more snow in southwestern Ontario since December.  In fact in Chatham-Kent this winter we have had the heaviest snowfall on record.

As a Canadian, snow is almost our birthright.  I had a conversation the other day with a fellow from Australia who follows me on Twitter.  I told him on one visit to Jerilderie, Australia many years ago, a local farmer told me that our ancestors were on the same dock in England, “why did yours go to Canada?”  I had to laugh when I heard that.  I think my Australian friend on Twitter is still laughing.  Snow and ice isn’t always good for your soul.

My Australian friend was giving me a little bit of teasing.  So I retorted back that I didn’t like 40°C in the shade.  He retorted back to me, what would I prefer -40° C. or +40° C?   I must admit I didn’t know what to choose.  Something tells me at 40° C., I could be sipping on a drink in a swimming pool somewhere.  Case in point, Canadians put up with winter, as you grow older it’s not very enjoyable.

I certainly have a different view from 20 years ago.  At the time I was a very avid cross-country skier.  Whenever I got the chance to go up north, I’d try to find time to get to a cross-country ski course.  I always thought it was a great work out and truly enjoyable.  Before that, going way back when, when I wasn’t playing basketball on the hard court, I’d be playing hockey.  Others, especially in Western Canada would enjoy the great Canadian sport of curling.

Earlier this winter I had the opportunity to speak in Edmonton Alberta.  Family members regarding how I never get asked to speak in Western Canada unless it is the dead of winter often tease me. When I get back many ex-pat Western Canadians seek me out to see if I understand why they no longer live there.  The point being, it is usually so cold when I’m in the West, the relative mild air of southwestern Ontario seems downright balmy.  I must admit when I have disembarked the plane in London Ontario, the temperature difference sometimes can be striking.

So maybe I’m whining just a little bit about southwestern Ontario getting more snow this year than usual.  For instance when I did go to Edmonton, there was snow everywhere, it was like a freezer, ice, large mounds of snow making it look like such an inhospitable place.  I actually commented to a woman in the shuttle bus on the way to my hotel, how there are no people on the streets.  She was from Grand Prairie Alberta and she must’ve thought I was from Mars.  She simply retorted to me it’s too cold to be out on the streets.

Of course, it isn’t going to change.  This November, the leaves will all leave the trees and we will once again get a dash of snow and cold air across our brow.  In the case of southwestern Ontario, I surely hope that we go back to our more traditional weather pattern versus what we had this past winter.  The problem this winter is that the snow and ice has been so consistent since December, everybody has grown so weary of the fight.

Still, as we are still in the thick of things, I wonder about my Australian friend’s question about 40° C.  I have had many friends who live in far off lands where there is no snow and warm temperatures year-round.  I have been to their homes, churches, schools, universities and their neighborhoods and it seems like such a delightful expectation to live.  Think of a world where you don’t wear a coat?  In Canada, at least 8 out of 12 months of the year we wear a coat. I love this country, but the specter of the 12-month warm climate has always intrigued me.  Something tells me; even with advanced global warming it isn’t going to change.

Earlier this winter 3 inches of snow shut down several large airports and Western Europe.  It caused travel havoc for many.  At the same time, these airports were criticized by more northern countries, as 3 inches of snow doesn’t shut us down in places like Canada, Norway and Finland.  I thought it was a fair commentary on the uneven perceptions winter has around the world.  Some are better than others dealing with winter.

Having said that, I vote for spring.  I’ve had just about enough.  I’d take 40° C. any day.