The days are getting shorter and colder, winds are picking up and snow is starting to fly which means only one thing: winter is coming.
As Canadians, we take pride in the extremes mother nature will throw at us over the next several months. I hit the streets of downtown Toronto to find out just how much Canadians know about winter weather. Here are some of the facts:
Snow removal budgets are a big part of city budgets across the country, but there is one Canadian city that spends way more than any other. Montreal is half the population of Toronto but ends up spending double (about $155 million) on snow removal each year.
Thunderstorms are common in the summer but can actually occur in winter storms. When lightning occurs in heavy snow it creates this amazing white flash and the thunder is often soft and muzzled by the snow. This phenomenon is called thundersnow and can occur anywhere in Canada.
Winter precipitation can be beautiful but also dangerous on the roads and sidewalks. Snow and ice pellets are the cause of thousands of car accidents across the country each year, but freezing rain is the most dangerous form of precipitation.
Major ice storms can occur in any province but the 1998 ice storm is one of the biggest on record. About 40-120 mm of ice coated absolutely everything across eastern Ontario, southern Quebec and parts of New Brunswick. The ice caused a massive power outage to four-million people during the heart of the storm and over $4 billion in damage.
There is no arguing February is a cold month across the country but on Feb. 3, 1947, the temperature in Snag, Yukon reached a record -63C. It’s never been that cold in Winnipeg but it does take the prize for the coldest big Canadian city with an average winter high of -9 and low of -19.
British Columbia is a province of extremes when it comes to snowfall. Both the snowiest and least snowy spots in Canada are both found in southern B.C. On average, Victoria only gets 33cm of snow each winter while Mt. Fidelity in Glacier National Park gets a whopping 1388 cm.
You can thank Alberta’s Chinook winds for Canada’s biggest temperature change. In 1962, residents of Pincher Creek needed to shed their parkas for shorts and t-shirts as the temperature jumped from -19C to +22C in just an hour.