What is it about Ottawa and its reaction to snow? Every year without fail snow falls from the sky and just like clockwork everyone panics. Well, not usually the visitors, though they will make comments about the amount of snow, the size of the flakes, and the propensity for ice to form absolutely everywhere we walk.
No, it is not the typical out-of-towner that causes mayhem on the highways and the side streets its the average Ottawa citizen. What is it about snow? Sure, it gets in our eyes, our ears, our boots, and our cars but is it truly so surprising that it warrants this sort of fuss every year?
My theory is that we enjoy it, not the suffering, the slogging, or the general longevity of snow which like everyone’s least favourite relative tends to overstay its welcome but the complaining. It is like therapy for the city and its citizens. We live in a political town where policy, logic, and the facts are always at the forefront of our minds. Winter unites us under a common umbrella – survival. Though it’s not as dramatic as life or death survival each morning everyone has the same goal: to get to work, school, home, or wherever else.
We pool our resources together in order to help each other meet our collective goal of getting through winter. During the summer it is unlikely that your neighbour will offer to mow your lawn but in winter it is not unusual to see those with snowblowers clearing other peoples’ driveways.
Winter brings us together like no other season. Ottawa is about adaptation – to the political game, to the bilingualism, to the transportation, to the natural beauty, to the variety of people – it is about learning to go on despite tough times.
So, the next time you complain about the snow, sleet, or ice take a minute to remember that this is what makes us special and unique. Ottawa is doomed to fierce, beautiful snowstorms for the foreseeable future so why not enjoy the wonder of the winter world right outside your door?