Canadian musician Alan Doyle will never forget his first experience in Winnipeg during a snow storm in his 20s.
“We were warned actually the night before that it was going to be a prairie storm and we probably might not want to drive the next day,” Doyle said.
Being from the East Coast, he and his bandmates from Great Big Sea thought they knew what a storm looked like.
“I remember an hour into the next morning going like, oh my God, we’d never seen anything like it in our lives… it was like snowmageddon.”
Doyle recently wrote about his adventures across Canada with Great Big Sea, an emerging band from Newfoundland in the early 1990s who later became a popular Canadian folk rock band.
In his book A Newfoundlander in Canada, Doyle writes about leaving his hometown and crossing Canada for the first time.
“I was in my early 20s from a very small town in Newfoundland and I had never really been anywhere and so Canada was like the great mystery to me and I was dying to know what it looked like,” he said.
Doyle shared how impressed he was with people in the prairies when he arrived in Manitoba for the first time.
“People in the prairies have the same kind of survivalist mentality as they do in the harbours out East,” Doyle said.
“I got the impression being out here in the prairies… that survivalist kind of mentality lives with people and that, the communities get together to fix their own stuff and then they go on to the next one.”
The lead singer of Great Big Sea recalled one experience in particular before playing the West End Cultural Centre.
“I was wrapped in blankets and my pillow, everything I could possibly put on me and the door opened to the West End Cultural Centre and these three people walked up with little hoodies on… I remember one guy picked up a handful of snow and tossed it in his mouth for a drink and I was like wow, these people are bullet proof.”
When asked what he hopes people will take from his book, Doyle said that Canada is a beautiful place.
“Canada is a big melting pot and loves to celebrate the differences between one part of the country and the next so that’s the big takeaway that I had from my first trip across the country,” Doyle said.