The past nine winters we have experienced the ‘Great White North’. Canada has earned its image of the land of ice and snow, where you need snow shoes and a dozen layers of thermal underwear just to venture outside on certain winter days. We have since moved from Calgary back to the Vancouver Island and this winter the snow shoes and thermal underwear have been traded in for rainwear and gumboots.
The other night we took the family down to the town’s ‘Light Up’ where Santa Claus rides into town, hugs a few children and then lights up the tree in the center of town. It was a classic ‘small town’ event, not very well organized, but quaint and welcoming. The setting, singing, and of course Santa, provided Christmas spirit for the first time this year (much earlier than in past years). This event also presented a sight that most Canadians would find humorous and a little pathetic. To make the scene more authentic, organizers had trucked in a load of snow and placed it around the tree. All the winter starved kids, including ours, crowded around the tree and frolicked in this little patch of slush. Once in a while parents had to step in to avoid an ice ball incident but all-in-all the snow was a success.
When we were living in a city we probably would have considered an event of this calibre boring and a waste of time. The West Coast lifestyle seems to fit us well and we were able to relax and enjoy the evening for what it was. We sang a few songs (Annika mainly), dodged a few ice balls, and had the thrill of seeing Santa. This may be as close to a white Christmas our rain soaked, gumboot wearing family will get this year, but it is great to be back on the West Coast. We will let the rest of Canada laugh at us.