Monday, March 07, 2005

north is just "up" from wherever you are

So, it snowed here today in Ottawa. Maybe about 15 centimetres or so, and we are supposed to get a bit more tonight, along with that ottawa-winter-identifier: freezing rain. i was sitting at work looking out the window, thinking how pretty the snow looked, and then we all got word to go home, because of the bad weather!! I was pretty surprised - the temperature wasn't that cold, and there didn't seem to be that much snow. But a snow day! Woohoo! You know you're a complete beaurocrat when you hear "the weather's bad, go home", and for an instant, you're first thought is: "shit... I've got so much work to do...". I got over that pretty quickly.

it got me thinking of my old town, thunder bay, and how the inhabitants there really feel hardy and rugged in the winter. We rarely got a snow day in school - only if there was over three feet of snow falling that day. And we never got to stay indoors during recess - only if the temperature fell below minus 30. A true north strong and free (although, of course not as north as say Peawanuck or Alert)! So, when they said go home, today, I kind of felt like i was playing hooky, and that I wasn't really supposed to be going home. I joked with a guy at work, saying HA! These Ottawa people are so wussy, they can't HANDLE the snow!, and he replied, Hey, I'm from Toronto, I should have gone home this morning, and called the army!! ;)

Ottawa seems caught between being a small northern town, and a medium size southern town. It is north to those in Toronto, and south to those in northern ontario. That reminds me of when my friend took me to a camp in the Muskokas and there was a sign on the door that said "Welcome to the north". I nearly dropped my bottle of wine as I fell to the floor laughing... "I....hahaha.. think they mean... hahaha... welcome to just north of toronto... hahaha!"

Ottawa promotes it's Winterlude, and it's longest skating rink and all the winter activities that come out of those, but every time a few flakes fall, the drivers in this town ...aaaahhhh.... FREAK OUT! Hardly anyone uses winter tires, and there are tons of accidents all over town during a snowfall. It's not the people driving fast who cause them, it's the people who can't stop, or stay on the road. You gotta decide, Ottawa, are you a hardy, skate-wearing, snoe-showing, skiing, rugged driving sort of winter town, or are you TORONTO?? :)

Please, everyone, learn to drive in the winter. It's easy with some good winter tires and a little training. It makes everyone safer.

Oh yeah, as rugged and northern as I say I am, I actually don't like winter at all... give me a hot and dry climate any day over cold and wet. I've been in Ottawa over 7 years, and yesterday was the first time since I got here that I went on the canal! I haven't been skating in 15 years, but it was surprising how easily it all came back to me. Not that I was doing any triple sow-cows but i did manage to do a little twirl, go backwards, and of course forwards in a fairly stable way. yeah me!

PS. Thanks to all of you who spoke with me personally to give me advice for my friend. She's feeling better. xo.

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