By Jade Johnston
Warning : The following post contains references to bone chilling cold!
Why go skiing or head south to a sunny beach when you can spend the winter in Winnipeg?
Those of you who know where Winnipeg is are probably saying “WWHHhhaaaaaa?!?” right now. And some of you may even point out that I have spent the last two Winnipeg winters in the Southern hemisphere (i.e. not winter), but let’s just pretend, for the sake of this post, that you don’t know that.
A Winnipeg Winter
Winnipeg. Windy-peg. Winter-peg. The capital of Manitoba, and one of the coldest cities on earth. A city where the inhabitants brag to their more southern friends about their incredible winter survival skills – while in the comfort of their heated houses of course. Winnipeg. Where -40 Celsius is the norm. Winnipeg – my home town.
You know you are in Winnipeg in the winter when…..
- You walk outside and the coldness of the air knocks the breath out of you
- Your eyes water from the cold, and then freeze together a little bit in the corners
- You find long johns sexy
- Your car has a remote control
- You need to plug your car into an electrical outlet so that it will start the next day
- You know just how annoying it is to have a “snot-cicle” form on the end of your nose
How To Survive A Winnipeg Winter
- Layers, Layers, and more layers! This is crucial. Even my hipster friends wear long johns underneath their skinny jeans. I usually chose to wear thick woollen tights under my clothes, which really helps. Layers on top are also really helpful. Electricity and heating in Winnipeg is cheaper than in many other parts of the world, and believe me, we keep our houses warm.
- Good footwear. Your fingers and toes are the first to freeze in a Winnipeg winter, but unlike your fingers, you can’t blow on your toes to warm them up while you wait for the bus. Good shoes are so important in this type of climate. Remember, snow is WATER, so you will want to make sure your shoes are waterproof! Also make sure they are well insulated, and wear a good pair of socks that wick the moisture away from your feet as well. When I am in Winnipeg, I like to wear Mukluk boots which on top of being extremely warm and comfortable, are also just mega awesome.
- Hats and toques are cool, and a great fashion statement. Just like fingers and toes, ears are also quick to freeze. Believe me, there is nothing more painful than the dull ache of your ears “defrosting” when you come inside from the cold Winnipeg winter. Your head is also one of your major sources of heat loss from your body – and heat loss is not something you want to happen in a Winnipeg winter! Make sure you wear a hat! And if you want to blend in, make sure to refer to your hat as a “toque”.
- Take the sky walk or tunnels when you are downtown. A good majority of downtown Winnipeg is connected either by underground, or above ground heated walkways. This is a great way to get around the inner city during extreme weather. You can go from the Hudson Bay Company, through to Portage Place mall, across to the MTS centre and the City Place mall, then over to the Millennium library, and finally down to the intersections of Portage and Main st. If you are not familiar with Winnipeg, you wont know just how far you can get with these walkways, so just take my word for it.
- Warm up with a Tim Hortons! This wouldn’t be a Canadian themed post without a mention of Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is the consumer embodiment of all things stereotypically Canadian. It’s a cheap coffee and donut stop (often open 24 hours), where you can fill up on a coffee and toasted bagel for under $5. So, a hockey player, a lumberjack, and an RCMP officer walk into a Tim Hortons….. Wait, that’s not the start of a joke – That could totally happen.
So tell me? What are your winter survival strategies?