Canadian winters

Parc Mont Royal, Montreal
Do you like a question I get asked a lot. Usually by native Montrealers who look at me slightly sideways and wonder if I'm all there. Yes, yes I enthuse, I love it. They smile back, only half-believing that some soft Brit could actually stomach this cold. No really, I go cross-country skiing . I have a bruise on my leg where I fell. Now I'm starting to sound desperate and their eyes have glazed over.
Joggers coming up the hill wave at me skiing down the hill.

 The truth is I can never be as enthusiastic about winter as a native (the ones that don't go to Florida that is). I always feel there is something slightly mad about folk who say, what temperature is it? -15C? OK let's go for a run on the snow. So I can only TRY to be all -Canadian about it. I was born on New Year's Day during a very snowy winter in England and I have always thought of myself as a snow baby. The sight of snow falling, to this day, makes me excited as a kid.

Cycling through the snow
You have to understand I come from a country without seasons. It's pretty hard to distinguish between summer and winter in England. It's usually raining, cloudy and windy year round. When we do have good weather it's a joy but it's anyone's guess as to when this will happen. Compare this to Montreal where snowstorms and temperatures of -15C are usual in winter and in summer it can reach the high 30s for weeks on end. The extremes in temperature here can even occur in 24 hours. It can be -15C at night and plus 15C in the day - that's how we produce maple syrup don't forget. (They're not daft, these Canadians).

Blossoms of ice.
 If you're coming to visit Canada in the winter just remember to bring lots of layers - that's all you need to know. But don't be content with romantic walks in the snow. Get out there and give skating and skiing a try. Being British,  I'm pretty rubbish at both but there is nothing more fun than being outside in these conditions. An outdoor ice rink with  music playing and snow falling is my idea of heaven. It's a million miles from Whitley Bay Ice Rink where I used to skate as a kid and be intimidated by gangs of boys showing off.

The British technique for skating backwards.
Find yourself a Canadian and get them to skate backwards for you. It's always fun. Wear lots of padding so the falls don't hurt so much. Don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself - I hardly saw snow for the first 40+ years of my life so I will never be as good on ice as a Montrealer. (as the picture above shows.) So yes, Montreal, I do love your winters but just remind me again ...when does the Spring start?

Previous posts about dressing for winter in Montreal.

Water fountain, Parc Mont Royal


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