Thursday, February 3, 2011

Work and Play in Canada

We've had our second large-ish dumping of snow for the season, finally putting us into a 'we are finally into winter' mindset. The schools were shut for today and many businesses were closed for the morning. We got the snow that many in Ontario were forecasting for Wednesday. 'Snowmagedon' was advertised, but really it was more of a 'minor social occassion'. They expected so much more...'Snowtorious B.I.G.' was advertised, but really it was Justin Bieber who showed up for the show. The photo above is of Sean using the snow machine, its wicked-sharp blades chopping up the snow, with his eyes closed. He's that good...


This photo is of me using a sharp, snow-poking thingy to threatening the boy to work harder. I want the most from the $1 that I am paying him. You're probably wondering about the bungee cord around my neck...that's to tie him off the the handlebars of the snow blower so he can't sneak off from the job.

We in the northern climes have learned to embrace our wintry 5 month respite from the warm temps. Some here stay warm by shovelling the driveway others by lifting a pint or three of brew. Some prefer to spend hours each winter participating in activities such as ice hockey, snowshoeing and waiting in drive-through line ups at Tim Horton's donut shops. A few days ago, I heard of a new and strange activity here in Canada.

Apparently the first officially sanctioned Yukigassen tournament in North America was held last weekend in Saskatoon. It is a winter sport that originated in Japan and translates as 'snow battle'. Teams of seven try to win the game by eliminating their opponents by hitting them with a snow ball or by stealing the other team's flag. I heard that the temperatures in Saskatoon were in the -20's and I think that all of those young people chucking lumps of hardened snow at each other are either really brave or really crazy. I watched this video produced by Tourism Saskatchewan a couple of times and am  reasonably sure that there was no drinking involved during its making. Maybe. I think that it would be a fun thing to try at least once.

I missed that aspect of my childhood as I grew up in Victoria which is probably the warmest spot in Canada in the winter. All we had was slush and it would melt really quickly due to the heat from our hands. Mittens? Didn't have 'em. We were too poor for mittens. Did I ever tell you about the time...

12 comments:

Kara McElhinny said...

That sounds like a lot of fun! Great pictures Alan :) Happy Justin Snowber!

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

This made me laugh and, honestly, I haven't laughed a lot lately. Something about you tying Sean to the snowblower with bungee cords that cracks me up.

Danielle Ferries said...

I wish it snowed here.

Jarmara Falconer said...

Great pictures, Alan. You look so masterful :-)

Good Luck with the snow and keep warm

Laurita said...

Hey, I'd give Sean a dollar to do my driveway. As a bonus, he could clear a few sidewalks along the way, make it safer for a few St. John's pedestrians.

That's a great shot of you with the sharp snow thingy. You look very menacing.

Karen from Mentor said...

Lovin the hat...

Jhon Baker said...

Love the snow - we got it tuesday - 18" - not too bad, the schools closed for the remainder of the week as a lot of people abandoned cars and prevented the plows from clearing major roads. It was the winds that did us in.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Kara- yeah, thanks a bunch.

Cathy- It's little tricks like that that aren't mentioned in the parenting manual that pops out with the child.

Danielle- I guess that you'd have to go to NZ to see your snow. Visit Canada, it's guaranteed five months of the year.

Jarmara- THanks. Sometime you've got to LOOK masterful because that's all that you've got.

Laurita- And you know that the menacing thing is just an act. Yep, the sidewalks are pretty hazzardous about these parts.

Karen- Sometimes the hat moves...and those flaps on the sides, made from real beaver tail.

Jhon- Yeah, I saw a couple of news reports about those cars abandoned along the lake. It's like everything was caked in ice. Bet you don't see many folks out on their bikes these days!

Mari said...

A snow machine? I'm sure *many* people envy you for that!

I like the idea of the Japanese sport, but before freezing to death and being hit by hard ice I'd like to try paintball. ;)

John Wiswell said...

You look so at home with a tundra on your lawn. A snow machine... yes, some envy is felt.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Mari- Actually, probably 3/4 of the population here have a snow blower. Sort of a necessary household item, on account of the normal quantity of snow that falls here. I'd love to try paintball too :)

John- Har! Tundra on my lawn...I figure the snow blower is preferable to the missed time from work because of back problems...

Katey said...

And I'll bet you only had one snow boot, and had to switch feet--one got it on the way UP the hill, one on the way DOWN? Oh no, it was up both ways, wasn't it? Dammit!

I love it! Actually we flew just over your island on the way home from India the other day, and I saw St. John on the map and thought of you.