[ANOTHER VIEW]Vicious winters in Canada count as vivid memorySharing my experience in Canada, in Toronto to be specific, is almost an exercise in futility.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy my time there, of course. It’s just that despite being there for seven plus years, there are not too many memorable things, or at least things people do not already know, to talk about.
But since an ever increasing number of Koreans, young and old alike, are flocking to the Great White North, it behooves me to warn one thing about the country that can be daunting to the newcomers: the winter.
Ah, yes, the Canadian winter.
The words “Canada” and “winter” go together like Felix Unger and Oscar Madison in the movie “The Odd Couple”; the former is all neat and tidy, its streets filled with less garbage than Britney Spears has critically acclaimed albums, and the latter slovenly and messy, covering otherwise a beautiful country with snow and slush for months.
The sheer bitterness of the winter there cannot be aptly described by my reservoir of adjectives. The winter is so notoriously cold that in an episode of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s show “Talking to Americans,” the Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee once believed a Canadian comedian Rick Mercer when he said the Canadian Parliamentary building in the capital city of Ottawa had long been a large igloo. The winter days there are usually quite dark and gloomy, and from December to February, a typical Toronto street after 10 p.m. has the excitement of stale beer. You’d have to be there in person to feel the harsh season, which typically lasts from October to who knows when. During my first May there in 1996, it snowed.
As we Seoulites have been taking out short-sleeve tops from our closets the last few days, my Torontonian pals have yet to put away their coats and jackets. When I last checked the weather in Toronto on Tuesday, the low temperature was 2 degrees centigrade (36 degrees Fahrenheit).
My alma mater, the University of Toronto, closed down for two days in January of 1999 because of heavy snowstorm. Suffice to say, Toronto is where the movie “Snow Day,” in which a menacing snow plow driver threatens to clean the roads before the kids can get a second consecutive snow day from school, can be turned into a harsh, cold reality. So before we complain about unseasonably hot and humid conditions of late, we should feel bad for the good Canadians who do not deserve such a discrimination of temperatures from Mother Nature.
by Yoo Jee-ho