This has been a winter to remember, thanks to no less than two polar vortexes freezing the continent and creating havoc through many US cities. While many have complained about the length of this winter, Canada has rediscovered its winter playground potential.
It has certainly been cold enough for everyone to question the sense of even playing outside for a short while, to the extent that even the family dog tends to look at its owner with wide questioning eyes about the sensibility of going out to use the facilities. However, Canada has been known for its creativity, if nothing else, and samples of this winter creativity has cropped up across the nation.
Facebook became alive with some wintertime inspiration when a father decided to take advantage of the freezing cold weather and encourage his kids to spend some time outside as well. The enterprising dad, Chris Marchand of Ontario, Canada, took advantage of the bitter cold that lasted for a month and built a colorful ice fort that reached a five-foot height.
There have been reports of children having fun sliding out of their bedroom windows down a snow hill. Quebec, Canada has become famous for its ice hotel. Snow sculptures are common all over the country, particularly in regions where snowfall can be quite high. Some children have taught themselves how to snowboard down hills in their back yard, and there are always competitions among neighborhood kids about who can build the biggest snow fort or snowman.
Adults have rediscovered that Canada is a winter playground as well, as groups of men go careening down sledding hills like they were teens again. Women also get in on the fun, hauling their young children on sleds or enrolling them in snowboarding class. There seems to be very little that dissuades Canadians from enjoying some cold weather fun – and if there’s the promise of moose milk, slush or another refreshing beverage like hot chocolate in the end, so much the better.
There’s also the appreciation of natural beauty like that which is found in the Northern Lights. Canada has the largest land area when compared to the US and a tenth of the population; this means that Canadians have bigger skies to appreciate the Northern Lights and the genuine beauty to be found in a clear, starlit night. There is also something to be said about just the sheer calm that can be felt in shussing over newfallen snow on the Saskatchewan or Alberta prairies.
Canadian children see nothing wrong with going to the playground and trying to swing on the swing – even if their bottoms are sitting a half-inch above the snow. There’s nothing like flying off a slide, newly glistening with ice, and laughing like crazy as you land, belly first, in a snowbank. Canada is a winter playground, and although there are many people who are looking out their frosted windows wondering if snow will ever melt, Canadians are determined to make the most of it, no matter how cold it gets. That does not mean they are looking any less forward to spring, though.
By Christina St-Jean