Who would have thought that a city where it’s common to see Canada Goose and Moncler jackets could be so ill prepared for the winter?
Nirosh Saravanan, Contributor
Illustration by Karla Monterrosa
“I don’t like snow. It’s cold, it’s wet and it gets everywhere”, is what Anakin Skywalker would have said if he was raised in Vancouver. With umbrellas in hand, many locals also seem to share the idea that the snow really is not what they’d like to deal with. Basically, our neighbours to the north and to the east don’t seen Vancouverites as true Canadians.
With this winter being relatively mild (as is quite often is the case here), it’s quite easy to forget what happens when the weather does shift from mild to extreme. Take 2017 for instance. The lower mainland was faced with a record-breaking snowfall and Vancouverites faced the many challenges of a proper winter. They also received judgement from the rest of the country for how unprepared they were for it – from sliding buses to cancelled trains. It didn’t help that clearing most local streets was a lower priority to clear.
So what does a city facing record snowfall do anyway? “Call the army!” said former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman. “I called in the Army to help clear the snow and I don’t regret it for a second.” After facing a brutal snowstorm back in 1999, a decision was made to call in the military to help clear out the pile-up along with 100 drivers from PEI. All it cost was motel rooms, food, a banquet and, of course, hockey tickets. Not a big cost compared to the nightmare of the early days of the 2017 snowfall.
Sometimes you just have to take things into your own hands, or at least make your citizens pull their weight. In some jurisdictions, those who don’t clear the walkways in front of their properties face hefty fines face. Alternatively, you could use one of those “not a flamethrower” devices from the Boring Company. If snow shovelling ends up being your preferred method of working out, you could volunteer as a snow angel, the group of volunteers that help clear public walkways for those who can’t due to mobility issues. It’s definitely a great way to get started on your New Year’s resolution.
So how does one prepare for when it does start to get hectic around here? Well a snow shovel, winter tires and a jacket are a good start. Don’t forget a pair of boots. With many people injuring themselves through slips and falls, it does help to keep grounded. After you get what you need, go have some fun! Because of the warmer temperature (in comparison to other parts of Canada), snow here is great for snowballs and sculpting. You can also hit the slopes with your choice of skis, snowboard or toboggan. Finish the day with some hot chocolate to warm you up, reminding yourself at least you’re not in Toronto back in 99.