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Wander the Winter Wonderland! Canadian Winter Wonders, Canada (CA012)

True winter in Canada is beautiful.  Even the locals will reluctantly agree there is nothing more spectacular than a fresh snowfall, draping the landscape in a pristine undisturbed and sparkling blanket.  Early morning hoar frost is amazing in the sunlight and you look forward to the nights you know will bring this morning wonder.  The Rocky Mountains are particularly pretty at this time of year, with huge peaks blanketed in snow, in stark contrast to blue sky and turquoise glacial lakes still in the process of freezing over for the winter. There is a feeling of beauty and quiet to fresh snow, the animals slowly emerge to forage in the sun, the skiers and boarders are lined up to catch buses to the mountain top, and the photographers have flocked to all of the best viewing spots.

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Jason has spent many years exploring Canada’s west in the winter months.  He’s done it all - from sports like skating, skiing, snowboarding, and dog sledding; to testing his Olympic skills of luge and bobsled; to the addictions of the utterly crazy like rink hockey and ice fishing.  But his true love is, of course, the photography.  He has tested all of his camera gear to the sheer limits of their performance; even in glacial and blizzard like conditions.  He knows the feeling of frostbitten fingers and cheeks as he waits for the right light.  And he has been found many times literally lying on thin ice on the edge of a river to get the best angle. There is really nothing like the colours and textures to be found in a winter landscape.  And the best place to find it is in Canada’s Rocky Mountains.

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For those not accustomed to cold climates, Canadian winter’s come with their own set of challenges.  If you think where you live is cold, try to imagine average temperatures of -20C every day, and for months.  And months.  And months.  Snow can and will fall anywhere from October to June in most provinces of Canada.  It's true!  - there are many spring graduation and autumn wedding photos to prove it.

All of that beautiful snow that has piled up outside must actually go somewhere if you want to drive your car, get to work, or even just do the shopping.  This means daily shovelling, sweeping, scraping, de-fogging, and de-icing just to function.  If you grow up in Canada, you will have been forced to dig your car out of a meter of overnight snow fall more than once.  The roads are slow and slippery and weather induced traffic jams are a regular occurrence.  You need gloves, and if you haven’t got a scraper and a brush in your car you will be forced to learn new and creative uses for your credit cards to get the ice off of your windscreen. 

Most Canadians are just used to it.  It’s just life in the ‘Great White North’.  But by the month of March, some are just plain grumpy, and any sign of spring brings feelings of euphoria.  If you ever wonder how some Canadians wear shorts in 5 degrees Celsius, this is why.  Spring MUST be on its way!

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Canada Winter Facts
  • The first day of winter is when the sun is at its farthest distance towards the southern hemisphere - this is the Winter Solstice (December 21st or 22nd) for those that live in the northern hemisphere.

  • The winter season is generally consider to be December, January and February, but in Canada the length of winter (period of minus temperatures) varies by region due to Canada's massive size.

  • Usually in the Canadian Rocky Mountains 'winter cold' begins around the end of October to the beginning of November and does not warm up until mid May to early June.

  • Normal city daytime temperatures in winter are -20 Celsius with night time regularly dropping to -30 Celsius and below.

  • Normal Canadian northern regional (Fort McMurray, Stewart, Yellow Knife) daytime temperatures in winter are -30 Celsius with night time regularly dropping to -40 Celsius and below.

  • During winter in Fort McMurray you will likely experience -45 Celsius during the day.  When hanging from a helicopter taking winter aerial photographs you will experience -65 Celsius - you will require quality camera equipment to complete the job.

  • Touching your tongue to a steel pole will cause your tongue to stick to the pole.  Trying to unstick your tongue will pull the skin off your tongue.  Warm water poured on your tongue will remove it from the steel pole with minimal pain and damage.  In an emergency warm pee has been known to work just as well as warm water.

  • Only fools touch their tongue to a steel pole in winter.

  • In the middle of Canadian winter one should expect to see Geddy Lee in a Montreal ice hockey jersey skating after Wayne Gretzky in his Oilers jersey yelling "Game on Eh!".

  • Some days in Canada it can get so cold that when a person speaks the other guy has to put the resulting voice-icles in a microwave for 2 minutes just to hear what the first guy said.

  • For those that asked (you know who you are):  Canada does have fresh milk to drink...even during winter.

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