It’s 7pm, just 4 hours after my plane landed in Montreal. I just came back from an hour-long walk outside, in the dreadful Canadian cold.
Before coming back inside my hotel, I touched my beard, as bearded dudes do for no reason. It was covered in ice. And it’s not even that cold today. I think it’s -8 degrees Celcius.
Trust me, for February in Canada, that’s warm. Like… t-shirt weather!
I came inside and immediately the ice melted and I was wet like a dog. And I hadn’t showered for about 24 hours, so I probably smelled like one too. If there had been people around when I walked, I’m sure they would have spared a coin thinking I was a homeless person.
Anyway, I had to dry my beard with a towel.
This is kind of a shock to me. I’ve been away from Canada for a while so this is not normal for me anymore.
I don’t know where you’re reading this from, but I know this is not normal for a lot of people out there too.
I’ve traveled to many countries over the last 3 years, and I’ve never seen anything else like a Canadian winter.
Twelve hours ago, I was in a dorm room in an apartment in Málaga. It was 17 or 18 degrees. Fast-forward to 12 later and I was looking down by the window from the airplane.
All I saw was white. White everywhere! And it wasn’t even snowing, it’s just that it snowed a lot this winter apparently.
Gone were the palm trees, the beaches and the mountains.
I had to face reality.
The truth is, I didn’t want to come back. I was scared of the Canadian winter. Everyone is, outside of Canada.
I was afraid of the -30 degrees. The slippery roads. The prices.
But I had things to look forward to. Like seeing my family, my friends, and most importantly, my wife. Long story short, because of her work, we haven’t seen each other for 6 months. Kind of. She had a week off in between so we were together during that time.
But to my surprise, I actually enjoy it right now.
Canada is cozy.
Canada is different. Even the language is different, at least in Québec.
In my flight from Málaga to Montréal, most people spoke French. Yet, if you’re not used to the accent, you seriously doubt that it’s French they’re speaking.
It’s my native language yet I’m always taken aback when I hear it. I spoke Spanish and English for the past 3 months. When I travel, I mostly speak English. If I meet French people abroad, I tone down my accent so they understand me. And that my friends, is fucking exhausting. It’s much easier for me to speak English then fake a French accent I don’t have.
Truth be told, some of my new French friends don’t even know I speak French. It’s too much effort making them understand me so I speak English. Shame on me.
When you arrive at the airport, you hear music in Quebecois. You get in a taxi and you hear music in Quebecois. People listen to music from here.
Where else do you see such cultural identity. Everywhere in the world they just play top American music. Or reggaeton in Spain.
When you stay in your country for so long, you don’t realize the things that make it different, the things that make it worth visiting for an outsider.
People are scared of the Canadian winter, but man, it’s the best time to come. It will shock you. You’ll be born again. You’ll have experienced one of the harshest winters in the world, yet you’ll realize it’s not even that bad.
There are so many cool things to do in winter here.
Have you heard of snowshoeing? It’s awesome.
- Ice fishing?
- Sugar Shack?
And the food too. Though not directly related to winter, have you heard of:
- smoked meat?
- paté chinois?
And that, for sure you heard, but we’ve got Maple Syrup. Like a shit-ton of it in winter! It’s the main reason to go to the sugar shack I mentioned above.
Oh, and we give out free water at restaurants. Just saying.
But I confess, the reason I was walking for an hour was not to experience the cold, it really was just to find the nearest poutine place… not joking…
But in doing so I realized if you’re not from a Nordic country, but even then, there are tons of reasons to come to Canada, and especially in winter. It brought me back to my roots and suddenly feel proud of it.
So there you have it folks. Come to Canada before winter ends!
Hey guys, I know this is a different style of story than usual, but I hope you still enjoyed it.
The lessons here are:
- dare go outside your comfort zone, and
- appreciate what you have.
Thanks for reading and sharing ! :)
First published here: https://theascent.pub/everyone-seriously-should-visit-canada-in-winter-2b333ffcc040