Currently, the news is dominated by stories of the “big freeze” occurring across North America. Niagara Falls is frozen, thousands of flights have been cancelled and many people have been severely injured and even killed by the crazy temperatures.
In the midst of the hysteria, my host city of Ottawa has been forgotten despite being “the coldest capital city in the world”, facing -30 temperatures regularly over the Christmas period!
Luckily, while Ottawa froze over, I was at home in Scotland for the Christmas break. I enjoyed temperatures fluctuating around zero and a smattering of festive snow while my Canadian friends faced unbearable cold as their heating broke and their house pipes froze.
At Carleton, we have an entire underground tunnel system so, since I live on-campus, there is no need to ever go outside when temperatures get bitter. However, spending potentially weeks inside would drive me insane . Therefore, I turn to the advice of a wise Uber driver. He informed me that whenever the temperatures were reasonable enough in Ottawa, you must get out of the house and do something fun.
In Canadian terms, this means that whenever the temperature rises over -20, get out there! Surprisingly, I have coped with -20 remarkably well. I am loving life in my winter wonderland! Here are some of the amazing activities we take part in during the winter term:
Each Sunday, we catch the bus to Mount Tremblant. We spend the day skiing, taking in the spectacular views over Quebec, then take the party bus back to campus with the ski society.
December in Ottawa means that loads of Christmas markets pop up everywhere. Three words: Maple Port tasting.
Now that the canal has frozen, we can skate through Ottawa, picking up hot chocolate and Beavertails (an AMAZING sweet pastry) along our route.
Winterlude is on its way – a winter festival which includes a snow playground and magnificent ice sculptures.
Ice hockey games are a must here – grab some poutine (chips with cheese and gravy) and watch a game for the ultimate Canadian experience.
I expected winter to be a continuous battle against the winter blues but I can see that winter term will be just as fun as the last one. Time here is going too quickly and I am determined to enjoy every moment!