“In Canada, complaining about the cold is a national pastime.”
January 5, 2016 8:23 AM Subscribe
Canada: A nation of winter wusses. by Aaron Hutchins [Maclean's Magazine] Canada used to pride itself on being the land of ice and snow. Now we avoid the outdoors—even when it’s not all that cold.
Canada’s mighty winters once invoked a sense of pride and superiority, a way to distinguish Canadians from Americans. “For we are a northern people, as the true out-crop of human nature, more manly, more real than the weak marrow-bones superstition of the effeminate south,” wrote the lawyer and essayist William Alexander Foster in his 1871 address, “Canada first or, our new nationality.” For centuries, Canadians wouldn’t let a little cold stop them. Days after Christmas in 1794, the Hudson Bay Co.’s Peter Fidler—a British surveyor, though perhaps Canada’s first weatherman—ventured out to record at what temperature liquor froze. (For the record: Holland gin freezes solid at -27° C, English brandy at -32° C and rum at -35° C.)
Times have changed. Environment Canada issues twice as many types of winter warnings as it did 25 years ago. School cancellations are on the rise. Dressing warm—from temperature-rated parkas to lab-tested winter boots—has never been more in fashion, and yet major cities and university campuses continue to expand underground walkways so locals can avoid the cold, no matter the cost.
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