I just lived through temperatures in the -20s and -30s for the first time ever! How did it go? Read on to find out.

My Winter Project:

People have told me to start a project in the winter because there is a lot of time to work on it! It does help to get settled in a new country during a long winter. I decided to start thinking of a business idea during the winter. One reason I wanted to move to Calgary is that it’s an entrepreneurial city. When I got here and saw how popular small businesses are, it made me want to get in on the action. It took a while to find an idea for a business though. Eventually, I found something! Right now, I am in the creative process and I need to get through some roadblocks with immigration. All I will say about it is it’s a business to provide a service to expats. I am SUPER excited about it!

Personal Anecdotes During The Cold Snap:

There was a cold snap for about 10 days where it stayed in the -20s. Windchill was in the -30s. The first day of it was a blizzard and I had to go out! It actually went better than I thought, but I was glad I wore a minimum of two layers of everything! Kind of funny that there was talk of double masking at that time too because of the new COVID variants.

I didn’t take many photos during that cold snap because I refused to take my gloves off! Although, here’s one that I managed to get.

Windchill was -35 C ish! No outdoors for me!

Yep. I made a point of “hibernating” for a while. There was a point where it felt exhausting to go out, and I didn’t see much point in going out if it was for less than 20 minutes. I discovered it takes a LONG time to layer up for these conditions. That’s why I decided not to go out if I was only going out for a few minutes.

Another day that I went out in these temperatures was when I had to go to my physiotherapist. At first, I thought about going on public transportation because I’m a Londoner (wink!). Then, I decided to Uber, and I was glad I did! I had my gloves off for two minutes to get Uber and my hands got PAINFULLY cold! That wasn’t the first time I misread the signs. I was taking the garbage out and I didn’t take my gloves. The bins had a HUGE amount of snow on them, which I had to wipe off with my bare hands! I almost doubled over trying to warm my hands up. The night before, we had got the cold weather warning that said the words “frostbite” and “hypothermia” in it. When I saw it, I admit I did get a little cognitive dissonance about it. After the garbage can incident, I thought, “Okay! They are NOT messing around here!”

Here are the only photos I was brave enough to get with my gloves off for a couple of minutes.

Frozen River with Footprints

Facts About Extremely Low Temperatures:

I was glad to wear a mask (or two) in these low temperatures. It kept my face warm. Plus, using logic and a little common sense, I figured that if there was any risk of getting COVID, it would be during a cold snap if I didn’t keep my immune system primed. I had heard all about breathing in and your nose getting frozen shut at -30 or below, but I figured that wasn’t going to happen this year. Then, we absolutely HAD to open a window because our apartment was overheated. I put my face near the window, and guess what? My nose practically got frozen shut! At least I was able to get the idea of it in the privacy of my own home and I wasn’t weakening my immune system.

One thing that surprised me was when it wasn’t snowing, but still freezing, cars were driving at pretty much normal speeds. It wasn’t like getting a big dump of snow and cars getting stuck all the time. Also, when you put salt on the pavement, it doesn’t melt the snow when it’s in the -20s/-30s.

Now I can expect to feel sluggish and SAD-y when it’s an extreme cold snap. Still, I would rather deal with that here than in London. Overcast, high humidity, no snow AND cold? No thanks! I’m definitely happy about the sunnier, drier, snowier climate. Honestly, Calgary has surprised me with how much sun there is. Whenever it’s sunny, carpe diem!

I did take some other photos to illustrate how cold it was.

YYC Hot Chocolate Fest:

I discovered another thing that is super cool about Calgary! During the month of February, local businesses sell hot chocolate as a fundraiser for Calgary Meals on Wheels. It’s called the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest.

This is the 10th year this has happened and there were over 40 small businesses participating. I suggest following them on social media too. If there wasn’t a pandemic on, I would have gone to a lot more businesses to try their hot chocolate. Next year! I did get hot chocolate when I went to my favourite patisserie though because I know they really try to keep customers safe. It had passionfruit in it and it was to die for! They also had a gift card giveaway every week, and I won one of the gift cards! Can’t wait to use it!

To die for!

Note to my readers outside Canada, YYC is the airport code for Calgary International Airport. It’s a thing here to refer to cities by their airport code. I have never seen a country do that and I am learning the airport codes for the different cities in Canada so I don’t get confused when I see YVR or YEG. I know, it’s weird to me too. Would I see something in San Francisco referred to as SFO, or London as LHR or LGW? That would be a no. And if London did do that, how could they decide because it has more than one major airport?

That’s all for now.

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  1. I hope it is not too cold. It’s global warming right now. So probably Canada will have the best temperature of all places in a few years.

      1. Wow and probably one can grow even grow some subtropical fruits in Canada one day if the warming trend continues.

  2. This year has had one of the mildest winters I have seen so it’s good year to move! When I first moved year the winter was one of the worst and I slipped in the snow multiple times lol πŸ˜†

    1. I have heard that this winter has definitely been mild from my fellow Calgarians. *cough climate change! But I didn’t say that in an oil and gas town lol. Snow is definitely problematic if you aren’t used to it. My Mum being a California girl at heart has had a lot to adapt to. Thanks for commenting 😊

  3. An interesting and informative read for someone who has never experienced a normal winter, much less a cold snap in the -20s and windchill in the -30s! I would definitely be hibernating for my own safety πŸ™‚ I have never heard about one’s breath freezing but never about the nose freezing shut.
    Wishing you all the best with your new business project.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I was hibernating for safety too. I mean, there are times Canadians are scared of the weather too. Thanks for your kind wishes and your lovely comment 😊

  4. Wow that’s cold. You’re a real Canadian now. It’s always a struggle taking pictures in the winter. Glad you managed to take a few shots of the snow. All the best with your winter project, it’s always good to have something to keep you occupied and have a goal to work towards.

    1. I definitely feel more Canadian now! Pictures are definitely a bear at super low temps. And thanks for your kind wishes and your lovely comment! 😊

  5. It’s a brilliant idea to have a project to carry out during the winter. In spite of some good moments, winter is still a difficult period for me, with the cold and the lack of greenery. Luckily there are other seasons to balance.

    1. I understand that. I felt the same way in England too, but mainly because I hated how overcast it is there. I agree about lack of greenery. Haven’t seen anything green since October and I did a double take when I saw grass the other day. Thanks for commenting 😊

  6. The COOOLLLDDD in Canada in winter is rather unforgettable! Looking forward to following your entrepreneurial journey. Oh and YYZ – I always loved that about Canada. I remember a bar with a great happy hour called YYZ in Toronto. Knowing what it stood for felt like being in on the joke (for once 🀣)!

    1. You’re right about it being unforgettable, especially when your nose freezes shut. That’s cool you like the airport acronyms too! Thanks for commenting 😊

  7. Congratulations you survived your first cold snap!! You’ve probably heard but overall this winter has been pretty good and now with Feb over it shouldn’t get that cold again. Spring will have a whole new meaning to you!😊

    1. Thank you! Yeah, people have told me I picked a good year to move. I joke that I brought some California weather with me. Okay, I have not intended to bring unprecedented wildfires with me though. I agree that Spring will have a new meaning. I felt the same way in England too. We had a “green and pleasant land” in Spring. Thanks for commenting 😊

  8. You will soon get used to Canadian winters. My late brother-in-law was from Corpus Christi, Texas. When he first came her in 1975, he could not stay warm. 10 years later going back to Texas, he could not stand the heat. I guess we all adapt to the climate of our areas. But, I am with you, winter is nice when it is sunny and mild and the snow is only on the ski hills. In the meantime, hang on, ’cause it ain’t over yet. Stay well. Allan

    1. You’re definitely right about adapting to the climate of our areas. I guess we get a baptism of fire at some point. Oh dear. Thanks for the heads up! And thanks for commenting. Be well too 😊. I really appreciate your tips for Canadian winter!

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