I don’t do cold. To me, cold is the opposite of how I want to feel. I never understand people who can just enjoy the cold. Going out in the winter on purpose in the cold “just because” absolutely baffles me to the core of my being (which also detests being cold by the way). Now this may not seem like such a horrible problem but here’s the catch, I live in Canada, and more specific, Ontario.
Now if you have heard any stereotypes about Canadian weather you’ll know it’s cold. And although some of the stereotypes I’ve heard are a little over the top I will say some are pretty accurate. The one I’ve heard that is perhaps too accurate is “it’s so cold outside your blood freezes in your veins”. In the winter it gets so cold that waiting to catch the bus becomes a test of ultimate survival.
Another big part of the full Canadian winter experience is the expanse of activities at our disposal. Living in Ottawa allows us access to one of what I consider to be a man-made phenomenon: the world’s longest man-made skating rink, the Rideau Canal. It can be so refreshing to just go down to the canal, throw on some skates, and skate around getting all the fresh are I can. With my horrible lack of coordination, the workout I get certainly adds a sense of accomplishment.
Another wonderful, entertaining winter activity I enjoy is snow-tubing. Flying down the hills feeling the snow flecks on my face and the cool air in my hair is one of the small pleasures I find despite the cold. Somehow, even in a mountain of snow, tubing reminds me of summer and going tubing on the lake and I suddenly just feel a warmth.
Now not everything wonderful about winter has to do with outdoor activities. What I really care about is of course the winter specific foods that only feel right when the snow’s falling and there’s a nip in the air. One Canadian winter food tradition is beavertails. I can’t get enough of beavertails, and yes I know how bizarre that sounds. What’s not to like about fried dough covered in brown sugar and chocolate sauce? Absolutely nothing. The only issue is learning how to stop at just one. I also may have a little bit of a snow taffy addiction. I remember going to the sugar bush as a kid and seeing all the syrup poured over the snow and trying to figure out how to roll it up onto a Popsicle stick in a somehow manageable manner. And who can forget about the beverages. I’d say the best thing about winter food is the hot drinks. I adore just sitting on the couch cuddled up in blankets with a good book and a delicious hot chocolate. I will confess that I’m a sucker for flavoured hot chocolates and coffee, and the winter flavours are always the best: candy cane, gingerbread, eggnog, chestnut praline, caramel brûlée. I mean those all sound like heaven for the tastebuds.
Whether it’s enjoying the cool winter breeze while building a snowman, enjoying a beaver tail while honing your skating skills, or curled up inside watching the snowfall while sipping a delicious hot chocolate, there sure is no shortage of ways to weather this winter and even make this winter wonderful.