The hardest thing about moving from Toronto back to the Prairies, hands-down, is the cold.
My friend once told me that Toronto got extreme temperatures — hot and cold. The hot part is correct; this past summer, I was unfortunate enough to experience a heat wave with temperatures upwards of 41 degrees.
At the time, I was working in a hot kitchen with an ineffectual air conditioner for double the fun.
After years of hearing my Toronto friends complain when it gets to -10, I have come to the conclusion that people in Toronto don’t know what cold is.
I spent four years in Toronto. I think the coldest it got was -25, and that was an anomaly.
I would come home to Saskatchewan in December for Christmas to find that I had lost my tolerance to cold. I would spend the first week of my vacation indoors, only leaving when I had to, because I just couldn’t handle it anymore.
When I went home for Christmas last year, some family members and I decided to go ice fishing and skidooing at my grandparents’ cabin. The cabin’s only source of heat is a fireplace and it has no indoor plumbing.
Do you know what it’s like to use an outhouse when it’s -25 degrees? I do. I knew it was going to be cold out there, so I wore leggings, jeans, ski pants, a sweater, a hoodie, two coats, mittens, earmuffs, a tuque and two pairs of socks. It was the first time I had been warm in the outdoors since I got home.
In my second year at Ryerson, everyone predicted a terrible blizzard. It was allegedly going to be the storm of the century. I walked out of my apartment that day to see what seemed to me to be a normal winter snowfall. In my class of more than 100, fewer than 10 managed to make it to the university.
When I arrived in Stettler last month, it was -14. My friend told me that he was shocked when he looked up the temperature for central Alberta, even though he knew it was going to be cold. I refrained from telling him that was actually not that bad.
When it was -32 in Stettler, I had to tell that same friend to stop telling me the temperature in Toronto, because it was painful to hear. He can talk to me when Toronto is in the middle of a sweltering heat wave and I don’t have to worry about fainting when I step outside.