Canada, The True North - known for our winters and The Polar Vortex


Canada, the true north – we are known for our winters and a signature part of Canada is the Winter Experience.

Our winters can be long, cold and snowy and being Canadian means – shoveling the drive, scarping the windows so you can see, skating on frozen lakes, rivers and canals, skiing on hills covered with with deep snow, or on trails out into the country side. Ice is for hockey and curling . Toboggans and sleds, plastic disks and tubes can be found in most garages. And our schools have 'snow days” - that is , days when the schools are closed and the buses don't run due to the effects of winter.

But, this isn't the First – won't be the Last


Sure the days are short and the dark comes early in the afternoon , while sunup is well after you are at work. BUT, those sunrise were really good!


Piercing the Dark


There is Hot Chocolate and Hay rides, frost nipped toes, touques, parkas and long scarves – special boots and treads, and now we have heated socks and gloves. To be Canadian means you have been frostbitten at least once, stuck in snowbank and needing a push and carrying jumper cables all the time – for you and for the other guy!T4 he Canadian experience is made up , in a large part, by Winter. We don't mind the cold, or the snow – it makes for good ice and good sliding!!


But, being Canadian, you bundle up and go out and enjoy the delights that come from a layer of snow to play in and on, ice to skate on and days that are so clear and fresh - the air gives you double the energy.

Cold Snap isn't New –this  isn't the Longest - these guys had it!


But sometimes, even with Canadians and their love of winter activities – enough bitter cold is enough! And this winter we are close to calling out “Enough already “. We were all a bit surprised, here in the Banff ( in the Heart of the Canadian Rockies), when January was quite mild and you could even ride a Town Bike through the streets – no Fat Tires or studs needed. Parkas weren't seen and though it was still cold enough to freeze the rivers and lakes , very much expected, you could go out without being all bundled up and enjoy.


Then “it” happened – the Polar Vortex descended from the true north - way up North, right into the laps of Canadians.

February saw the arrival of the Polar Vortex and Canada got its longest stretch of Bitter cold weather in 21 years!!! The temperature in these parts was -  as much as 23 degrees BELOW AVERAGE and there were daily Extreme Cold Warnings. The mean temperature for this stretch hovered around – 18 to – 26 C.

Some days were the proverbial crystal clear – the sky a deep stunning blue and frost clung to the trees . There have been colder days recorded ( we had some -36 C) but not a stretch so long as this.

The forecast is finally for things to “warm up” to more seasonal temperatures over the next 14 days - with daytime highs getting up to the negative mid teens ( - 12, - 13 c ). Still winter, still chilly – but much less tedious!

All that being said, there is still some stunning beauty to behold when the Vortex makes a visit.


This shot called Yielding to the River, was taken early in the morning at – 29 C down by the river.


The mist, the rime frost, the left over fall colors all contrasting to make a beautiful scene. As we say good bye to the Polar Vortex I can't say it wasn't all fun – so THANKS for the sights and scenes !!