What do Canadians call cold?
I've noticed in the last couple of days we are allowed to say it's cold. Before temperatures here hit -18C and below, every complaint from me was met with a confident, "This is nothing. Just you wait."
So what temperature does it have to fall below before Montrealers will call it cold?
I figure it's somewhere between -15C and -20C. A friend who works in daycare tells me they are allowed to send the kids outside until it drops below -15C so it would seem this is cold. For me it's less of a number and more of a collection of symptoms which make me think it's cold. For instance my nose contents froze yesterday when I was outside - not on a ten mile hike but WALKING TO THE CORNER OF THE STREET. That's cold.
Sometimes my coat freezes. It becomes weird and stiff at the bottom. The first time it did it I thought something was stuck to my coat.
Then sometimes when you are out jogging (I know I've already pigeon-holed myself as strange here) you lose feeling in a bit of your anatomy. A few days ago it was my right ear.
Then there is the kind of cold which makes your nose and eyes stream as soon as you step outside. This is my weak English system rebelling against Canadian winter. It is also the type of cold where you do not want to take off your mittens even for a second.
Talking of which they really do know their mittens here.
There is a whole mitten culture here. It's like being six again. I love it. It's only a matter of time till someone offers to pull me along the street on a sledge.
Winter also seems to bring out the toughness in your average Canadian. There is a ritual when you enter any Canadian household at this time of year which has all the intricacies of a Japanese tea ceremony. It is the removal of the boots, coats, mitts, scarves and hats. It takes a full ten minutes and is reversed on leaving the home. To the uninitiated it seems like excessive politeness as everyone who enters your home appears to be bowing to you. When I suggested we should provide a chair to aid guests one friend snapped, "A true Canadian can take their boots on and off while standing up." That's me told.
On the radio last night I heard Quebec City is -40C with windchill. I would call that cold. You?
PS There is a high of -22C today. I haven't been outside yet.
Things to do when it's cold.
-58C anyone? Read about cold in Canada.