The Long and Short of it

Contrary to what you may see and feel around you, we do get four seasons in Edmonton. Some of them are shorter lived than others. Edmontontians know the reality of long winters all too well. We get a harsh dry winter in the prairies that usually lasts about 6 months between late October to late April. Even when it seems that the worst of the cold is over, and we get few weeks of twenty degree sunshine, we could end up with a freak April/May snowfall and freezing temperatures the next week. This shouldn’t surprise us Edmontonians, it’s been happening  long since I can remember, but every year as the snow melts and we get that April snowfall, or May snowfall, we share in the incredulous banter about the weather in the parking lots of workplaces Edmonton wide. “Can you believe this??” a co-worker will bark, as he wipes the wet snow from his windshield in April.

There is a positive effect to the harsh temperamental weather; it makes us better neighbors to each other in an otherwise very spread out vast city. It helps us look out for one another when we all have the same hardship in common. We have learned to embrace the cold in ways that make us warm. Here is the breakdown for the newbies to Edmonton or Canada, and for the locals here are some truths you can testify to about our love/hate relationship with winter.

I am going to feel old saying this, but when I was growing up I remember it was most often -25 to -35 celcius in the winter time. I couldn’t leave the house without my coverall snowsuit, two pairs of socks, and long johns (long underwear or tights). We layered our touques on some days, but it never stopped us from getting outside to enjoy the snow. After all we didnt have tablets or cellphones to play with. We found the beauty in it. The snow is majestic. Building snow forts, throwing snowballs, getting your tongues stuck to cold metal fences or jacket zippers was a form of entertainment back then. Same goes for other fun activities that brought our family together like watching the lights display in Candy Cane lane, Legislature Grounds, or going skating on the lake at Hawrelak Park. Going snow shoeing around the Muttart Conservatory and making maple syrup taffy on the snow never gets old. I remember peeling off my snowsuit at the front door when I got home and the little clumps of snow would be hanging on for dear life to the fur lining of my boots, and my legs would tingle as they thawed out in the warmth of my house, my nose running all over the place…but I had a smile on my face as my Mom would hand me a big cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. That’s winter to me, and many of my early fond memories were made in the cold.

The weather has not been as harsh in the past 15 years as it was, and there are even more activities happening outdoors in Winter for the City that are fun for all ages, and they bring us together in ways that build bonds, and create memories. So many Edmontontians share in these winter memories that the city has become known as a world “winter city” we have adopted slogans like “Wearewinter”. There is no shortage of things to do for fun, and to stay active in the Winter, if you want suggestions just head to Explore Edmonton website.

So look out for one another, drive safe on those roads, and make some memories this Winter. Post your favorite YEG winter activity in the comments.



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