There’s nothing quite like a winter in Canada. With negative temperatures that I’m pretty sure Antarctica doesn’t even reach, snow banks that are taller than you, and the shovelling that truly never ends, mother nature doesn’t mess around with the winter season over here. She goes full throttle. But that’s okay, because we people of Canada are tough as nails and dealing with the winter months is in our blood, even if we are constantly complaining every chance we get.
However, even though we like to think we are invincible when it comes to a winter, it still gets the best of us from time to time. I mean, we choose to live in a country where your face literally hurts when it touches the air. The air hurts. Why do we do this to ourselves? But we deal with it, because we get to live in Canada, and that implies an immediately large amount of bragging rights on its own. Even if we freeze our backsides off every year for almost half the year, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
And hey, it’s not all bad. Winter is also an amazingly special time in Canada, where our country truly comes to life and shows what it’s made of. That first snowfall that has the whole country buzzing. Hot chocolate on a cold winter's day. Warming up by the fireplace while watching the snow fall outside. And Tim Hortons to warm up your commute, obviously.
Whether you enjoy the winter months or go into full hibernation until the first signs of spring, we can probably all relate to these items of what it feels like to live through a winter in Canada. And if you don’t, you’re not a true local.
20 I can see my breath and I can’t feel my face
During winter in Canada, seeing temperatures below negative 30 degrees Celsius is not uncommon. This results in misty smokes of air coming out of your mouth every time you speak. And when it’s so bitterly cold that you can’t feel your face, you question why you live in a place where you risk getting hypothermia every day. You get to a point where you are pretty positive you will get frostbite and your limbs will fall off if you don’t get into a warm building soon.
This is just another day in the winter life, and for some reason we manage to survive it year after year.
19 Everyone drives like they’ve never seen snow before
The first snowfall is a telltale sign of who the bad drivers are in this country. I swear everyone acts like they have never seen snow before and they have no idea how to deal with it behind the wheel.
Everyone goes 20km/hour and has their breaks going the entire way down an icy hill. C’mon people, this is what snow tires are for.
And if you don’t have snow tires, forget it. Don’t bother driving. You won’t get farther than down the block without slipping and sliding everywhere. Driving is not all butterflies and roses during a winter in Canada.
18 Having to customise every Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit
If you grew up in a winter in Canada, you likely had your mother forcing you to wear your massive snowsuit under your Halloween costume. My mother used to handmake all of our Halloween costumes, and would make them twice the size for this exact reason. By the end of it, you don’t even look like you’re wearing a costume, rather it looks like every kid in the neighbourhood dressed up as the abominable snowman.
As a child wanting to recreate your favourite character, it’s absolutely devastating when your mom compromises the legitimacy of your costume. When she's made to wear snow pants, Cinderella just doesn’t look as graceful as she does in the movie.
17 The uphill battle of texting with mittens on
Unless you have those fancy texting mittens that allow to keep up with the Instagram feed, you will likely go through the battle of trying to use your phone with mittens on, which let’s face it, is impossible.
After you struggle for a few minutes, you’ll take off your mittens for the sake of sending that text, only to have instantly freeze and fall off (well, it feels like it).
And a few minutes later, your phone will probably turn off because of the bitter cold air that makes it unusable. And it probably won’t turn until you enter warmth again, but with 50% less battery than it once had. *Sigh*.
16 Your car getting stuck in the snow. And now you’re late for work.
Ah, waking up to find that your car is surrounded in a pile of snow. What a joy. You have two options in this scenario.
You can shovel around the car until the snow is all clear. Or, you can do what most people choose to do: try and drive your way out of it. Which, in pretty much every case, results in your car getting stuck in the snow and now you have to shovel it out anyway. And now, you are late for work.
It’s probably the most Canada thing ever to be late for work because you were stuck in snow, which is pretty much the norm over there.
15 The pure joy you get when you walk into your house and the heat hits you
There is absolutely nothing better as a kid growing up in Canada, walking into your house after building a snow fort, to your mom welcoming you with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. And let me tell you, it’s still just as good as an adult. Coming home to a warm house, curling up on the couch with the wood burning fire going, and looking outside to see the snow falling, is the best possible feeling during a winter in Canada.
If you’re lucky, you have heated floors throughout your house that makes it that much better. Locals definitely don’t mess around when it comes to keeping warm in the winter and our housing is on par with that.
14 The stress that comes with layering
How many layers is too much? Answer: never enough. Do I look 500 pounds overweight? Absolutely. Will anyone be able to tell it’s me under all these layers? Probably not. Do I resemble the abominable snowman? Yup.
It’s always hard to know how many layers you actually need, and how many will have you drenched in sweat by the time you reach your destination.
You likely won’t win in this situation, as you will ALWAYS either overdo it or underdo it.
In my opinion, it’s better to apply more layers than not have enough. And let’s face it, there are nothing better than those scarfs that double as blankets when you’re in class or at your office. Whoever invented those, thank you.
13 Snow days. Enough said.
If you grew up in the town without snow, you will never know the utter joy you feel when your mom comes into your room in the morning to tell you it’s a snow day.
For those of you who are unaware, snow days allow for a day off school when the roads are unsafe to travel on. And boy, is it every child’s (and adult’s) favourite day.
You immediately spring up (even though you can sleep in) and call your friends to plan the day’s activities. As an adult, it looks a little different. You will probably fall back asleep for a few hours and then wake up to a day full of Netflix, hot chocolate, and a whole lot of doing nothing. This is mother nature’s way of making up for all of the brutal days she puts us through throughout the season.
12 Watching others freak out at the mildest weather conditions
While other countries freak out at the sight of a little snow (or worse than that, rain), cancelling every plan they have and shutting down the city completely, over here in Canuck region our skin is a little thicker. We truck along with our daily routine with ease in the two feet of snow, coming out of it pretty unphased. Icy roads? Put some skates on. Snow is taller than you? Build a tunnel to get through. Negative 40 weather? Well we are obviously still going to go trekking through the forest to find the perfect Christmas tree.
We in Canada take pride in staying tough throughout the season, so even if we are cold beyond belief, we can’t let other people know it. We wouldn’t want to ruin our reputation.
11 That in-between season
Ah, the in-between seasons, where it’s not cold enough for your Canada Goose jacket but definitely not warm enough for your jean jacket. And since you don’t have an equivalent for something in-between, you either sweat buckets or freeze every time you step outside. There’s nothing worse than looking out your window and seeing snow, pulling on your winter jacket, and stepping outside to realise it’s still above 0 degrees and now you’re drenched in sweat. Or worse, when you’re in denial that winter is, in fact, here, resulting in you wearing a light sweater and freezing your butt off. Until the new season is fully upon us, we don’t know how to deal.
10 Having to wear more than one pair of pants
In Canada, merely wearing one of pair of pants during winter just doesn’t cut it. You obviously have to have an extra layer underneath sweatpants, jeans, or any other pants you wear. Some may see this is overdoing it, but we say you have probably never felt the feeling of the brittle breeze coming up the bottom of your pants to hit your legs.
Let me tell you—It ain't fun in the slightest. And forget about wearing a dress, those stockings just won’t cut it (unless you wear pants over them until you get to your destination, of course).
9 Your feet will never be warm no matter how many layers of socks you wear
Is there some sort of trick that we’re missing out on that keeps your feet warm in the brittleness of winter? Because we still haven’t figured it out.
No matter how many fuzzy socks you wear, it seems that your feet will NEVER be warm enough.
And when you are skiing, forget about those ‘heavy duty’ ski socks. They are a lie. Your feet will still be bitterly cold all day, and you will take your ski boots off at the end of the day to find that your toes are turning a suspicious blue colour. If anyone has a solution, let us know.
8 You have to wait an eternity for your car to defrost
You better be waking up at least 20 minutes earlier in the winter to ensure that your car will be defrosted in time for you to go to work.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have an automatic car starter where you can turn your car on from the comforts of your warm, toasty home (#blessed).
However, if you’re like the rest of us peasants, you’ll be running outside in your robe at 7am to start your car. And if you don’t, you’ll be driving in an ice box for the first 20 minutes of your commute, and we all know (well, locals know) how brutal it is scraping the ice off your car first thing in the morning when you haven’t defrosted it first.
7 Drinking iced coffee in the winter isn’t weird
If you’re like me, then you hate drinking any hot beverage (it’s just TOO hot, alright?). Iced coffee is the only form you will drink, unless you’re going to wait half an hour for your hot one to cool down.
The good news is, no one will judge you when you want to grab your favourite beverage on even the coldest of days. No one will bat an eye when you order an iced coffee at Tim Hortons in the dead of winter. Or better yet, an iced cappuccino (readers from Canada will understand).
We’re definitely not going to let a little snow get in the way of enjoying a refreshing iced beverage. We’re better than that.
6 The embarrassment of slipping and falling on ice
There is nothing more entertaining than seeing someone eat it on the ice, only to fall two minutes later youself from pure karma.
With a group of strangers there to witness, you have to play it off like it’s no big deal and you are completely fine. In reality, your backside is throbbing and you’re pretty sure your pride will never recover.
Following that scarring experience, you live in permanent fear of falling down again, resulting in you doing the penguin walk across ice to ensure that you stay on two feet.
While it’s a funny thing to watch, experiencing it is probably one of the worst feelings out there.
5 Pitch black by 5pm? The norm.
There is nothing more depressing than the sun setting at 4pm every day, resulting in it being pitch black by 5pm. And that’s if the sun even appeared AT ALL that day.
If you work a 9-5 workweek, you likely never see the light of day for at least a few months of the year.
By 7pm, all you want to do it go straight to bed. Forget about socialising past dinner in the winter time. You question why you live in a place that is dark by the time you leave work every day, before you even hit happy hour.
4 You can’t get out of bed in the morning
The mornings are always the hardest part about wintertime in Canada. It’s already hard to get out of bed for work, let alone when its negative 20 degrees Celsius and you can see the snow falling outside your window.
And if you are up before 8am, it’s probably still pitch black outside.
You inevitably stay in bed way past the time you should, hugging your fuzzy blanket for dear life and contemplating if you should call in sick.
When you do get out of the warmth that you have created under your duvet cover, the cool air hits you and you run to the hot shower like you are in the Olympics for the 100m dash.
3 Walking your dog is pure misery
We all love our dogs, but we sort of wish they put on their independent pants in the winter and could walk themselves around the block.
Going for a leisurely stroll in the winter that doesn’t consist of you running back and forth from your car is not exactly #1 on our lists of favourite things to do. But we do it, because we can’t bare the look that our furry friends give us when they KNOW that it’s time for a W.A.L.K.
Once you’re out there, you swear that your dog is walking slow on purpose, adding to the enjoyment of the outing.
2 Shovelling is never-ending
If you grew up in Canada, you remember your parents sending you outside in the dead of winter to shovel the driveway. We thank them for it now, as they were merely just trying to prepare of for a lifetime of shovelling that we never would have been ready for if we hadn’t had the training.
The good news is, you will definitely get your arm workout in for the day, and likely your cardio as well. And as soon as you are finished, you’ll be feeling extremely accomplished for your efforts, patting yourself on the back for a job well done. However, sadly it will inevitably start snowing again, and you will have to do it all again tomorrow.
1 Mother Nature messing with your emotions
Nothing is worse than that day in late march when you get irrationally optimistic that spring is, in fact, on its way due to the melting snow and temps above 0 degrees. Nope, try again. You’ll wake up the next morning to a huge pile of snow and all your hopes and dreams are crushed.
Mother nature will likely tease you for a few weeks before spring actually starts, and your patience will be SERIOUSLY tested during this time.
One day it will be 15 degrees and sunny, and the next week a snowstorm will hit. Talk about messing with our emotions.