Winter in Ottawa – on the Greenboro Trail

When we moved here to Ottawa, on December 15, 2011, the grass was still green, the temperature was well above freezing, and a soft rain was falling. That year we didn’t see snow until a few days before Christmas and the whole winter season was milder than usual.

The coldest day of the year was the day my sister from Bermuda came to visit. The temperature that day was -25C. It must have been a shock for her! I had to lend her my long “yard-duty” coat that I had used when I was a teacher.

Last year, it didn’t snow until a few days before Christmas but Winter bit us in the derriere in March and April when we had several snow storms and the temperatures were frigid! It was very difficult and perfect strangers were talking to each other about how horrible the winter had been.

Not as bad as 2008, which set a record for the most snow EVER in one year in Ottawa.

This year, it has hit us early, and hit us hard, and while it has put us in the festive spirit and we do admit that it is beautiful, I fear we are in for another record-breaking year.

Today, December 11, 2013, it is -8C (17F). But when you factor in the wind speed, it feels like -16C (3F). Tonight it is going down to -19C (-2F) but the wind chill factor (which is a Canadian invention guaranteed to make us feel terrible (we are so cold) and wonderful (we are so tough) at the same time) will make it feel like -25C (-13F).

We went Christmas shopping today but were mostly inside so this afternoon we went for a walk on the Greenboro Trail. We took a few photos to prove how hardy we are.

And I admit – it was beautiful.

What do you think of my new WARM winter jacket?

What do you think of my new WARM winter jacket?

At 3 p.m. it was getting quite dark.

At 3 p.m. it was getting quite dark.

Two of my grandchildren built their first snowman of the season.

Two of my grandchildren built their first snowman of the season.

Over a week until the winter solstice and the sun is setting at 4:19.

Over a week until the winter solstice and the sun is setting at 4:19.

I fully expect my Bermuda sister to comment on this post telling us how “cold” it is there, but do not believe her. We have had this discussion before and I know winter in Ottawa blows her puny Bermuda winter right out of the water!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!  Stay warm.

Spring Has Sprung

The winter of 2012-2013 was frightful.  It didn’t really get going until December, but it built up a head of steam in March and April that would make you shiver.  And not just from the snow, ice, and winds.

Here in Canada, our meteorologists report  a phenomenon called “The Wind-Chill Factor” which tells us that even though it is -30 degrees outside and we think we are safe to leave the house clad in our long johns, two pairs of pants, three sweaters, a down-filled jacket, hat, scarf, mitts and boots, we’d better go back in and put on our super-cold-weather gear because with the wind factored in it actually feels like -80 degrees and several people have frozen to their front doorknobs and are waiting their turn to be rescued by the Paramedics who are also frozen but to the doors of their ambulances!

Okay, a slight exaggeration, but you get the point!  I always told my daughters (who in turn have told their husbands and kids) that by the end of March every Canadian resident (except the poor souls who live in the Northwest Territories) can expect 90% of the snow to be gone.  Not this year!   I was getting irate calls from my grandchildren and demands to know what was happening.

At the end of April, there was a whisper of green on the tips of the trees along the Greenboro Trail.  The grass on our front lawn has turned emerald-green in a matter of days.  Our garden plants are poking their heads out to see if it is safe to emerge.

Heavenly blossoms.

Heavenly blossoms.

By May 1, the snow was gone, and crocuses, daffodils, and tulips were dancing in the bright sunshine.  The whole neighbourhood is alive.  Men and women are smiling at each other and kids are playing at the park.  There have been several baseball games being played and one young man actually asked me if the local pool was open!

My grandson, Owen, playing street hockey.

My grandson, Owen, playing street hockey.

The scent of blossoms is fragrant in the air and the lilacs are just showing a tinge of purple and white.  The temperature is hovering around 26 degrees celsius (around 80 F).  John and I have been on our bikes and I am happy to say Tim Horton’s restaurant is showing a profit again since I’ve made it a regular stop on my adventures.

Forsythia on Echo Drive.

Forsythia on Echo Drive.

I have tried to describe the Miracle of Spring, but I can’t do justice to the feeling of joy in my heart at the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.

Daffodils.

Daffodils.

Thanks for reading and have a  beautiful, wondrous spring day. – Maureen

How’s the Weather?

Autumn Tree

It has often been said that Canadians love talking about the weather.  I can understand why that would be so since it affects so many of our day to day decisions.

In the winter, meteorologists report on the cold, the snow and the sleet but they also have developed what is called the wind chill factor.  It’s like it’s not cold enough.  They have to make it sound even colder.  If it is -25° C, they have to add the wind speed, and they come up with, “It’s -25°, but it feels like -37° with the wind chill factored in. ”  Brrrrrrr!

In the summer, they report on the heat, the haze, and the humidity.  For this season they have come up with the humidex. So if it is +31° C, it isn’t hot enough.  They have to factor in the amount of humidity in the air, to make us swelter even more. “It’s +31° folks, but with the humidity factored in, it feels like +44°.”  Yikes!

The absolute perfect weather is happening right now in Canada.  There is no “wind chill factor” and no “humidex”.  There is just a blissfully beautiful day with the bluest skies and the leaves turning yellow and orange and the sun shining and the temperature holding steady at 24° C.

I’ve taken a few photos over the last few days to help you visualize the weather in Ontario in October.

Near our house.

 

Late October flowers.

 

The garden of my neighbours is a delight.

 

By Lake Ontario