Canada in Winter

Many people around the world, when they think of Canada in winter, picture in their minds deep snow, bitingly cold temperatures, snow blowing into huge drifts, polar bears ambling down the main streets of towns and people dressed in very warm clothing, including long johns under warm pants (trousers), fur lined jackets, hoods and gloves.

It is that way in parts of Canada although the only place that I know of where polar bears amble down the main street is Churchill, Manitoba on the western shore of Hudson’s Bay.  Otherwise, places like Whitehorse in the Yukon, Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Edmonton, Alberta, Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, The Pau and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Northern Ontario and even places like Montreal, Ottawa and the eastern provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland can see temperatures drop to -40° to -50°C.   That is cold for human beings and requires adaptation and great care to avoid frost bite which can happen very quickly.  It is a special breed of people that not only live in these conditions but can be heard to boast about it!  I think they have the right to boast.

There is a part of Canada that stands apart from these raw and cruel conditions.  It is found in the southwest corner of the nation, in the southwest corner of British Columbia.  It includes Vancouver, Victoria, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Fraser Valley.  As the town of Abbotsford, where we live is in the heart of the Fraser Valley, it means that we have the luxury of living in this mild, “banana” belt.  The hardy Canadians who live in the icy climes sometimes poke fun at us “softies” who live here.  That’s OK, we can take it!

From time to time, however, we get a reminder that this is still Canada and we find ourselves on the receiving end of weather that the rest of Canada would hardly blink an eye at but, for us, it causes havoc and disruption.  This winter has been such a time (you knew I was building up to say that, weren’t you?).  It started in mid-December and we are only now (mid February 2017) enjoying a milder, wetter trend that is more typical of here.  Normally at this time of the year, crocuses are in abundance, the daffodils are approaching blooming time, the wild cherry blossom is in bud, as is the Forsythia.  This year?  Nothing yet.  The weather forecasters are hesitant to tell us that the worst is over, and I don’t blame them.  We have had more snow this winter than our area has seen for many years.  In some locations, new snowfall records have been set.

I should have gone out with my camera and taken more pictures but the conditions were too bad.  Also, in spite of being two good children in November when we got our ‘flu shots, Grace and I both went down with a ‘flu virus that wasn’t covered by November’s vaccine.  Actually, I got it first and gave it to Grace.  We are over it now.  I did take some pictures of the immediate area around our house.  Here are five of them.  Enjoy them, because we may not get another winter like this one for a few years, at least that is what we are all hoping!


Our house on a crisp, cold and windy morning (February 7, 2017). There had been a heavy snowfall overnight but the system had moved eastwards, leaving us with blue sky. The wind had blown the snow off the rhododendron bushes. The footprints in the virgin snow are mine, made as I walked across the street to take this picture.


Looking from our front porch across the street.


Early morning view looking east from our house. Our neighbour’s house, shown in the picture is the one that was owned and occupied by our nephew Huw and family for many years.


View from our patio door. Note the tiny Anna’s humming bird sitting at the nectar feeder. Anna’s humming birds have been spending winter in British Columbia rather than migrating south for a number of years now. We have been feeding them for about seven winters.


A close up of an Anna’s humming bird hovering and feeding at one of our two nectar feeders.


About mgouldth

Retired pastor and schoolteacher.
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