I bet a lot of local residents were surprised last week when they heard that Expedia.ca had included Burns Lake in their list of top 15 Canadian municipalities with the most miserable winters.
Burns Lake is listed as number 10, with winters considered more miserable than Moncton, N.B., Lethbridge, A.B. and Placentia, N.L.
Although I do complain about scraping the ice off my vehicle every morning, occasionally slipping on ice on my way to work and sometimes forgetting what sunshine feels like (fine… maybe I do complain a lot), I never thought that winters in northern B.C. were really that bad.
I say that after having lived in Newfoundland, where – although not as cold as other parts of Canada – the relentless wind and humidity can make a mild -5 C feel unbearable; and also after having lived in northern Saskatchewan, where it was still -40 C at the end of February – that’s about the time the snow starts to melt in Burns Lake.
So I’m not convinced that Burns Lake should be on that list. First of all, we only have a few days every year when the temperature dips below -20 C. We also seem to be blessed with more sunshine than other parts of Canada such as the Lower Mainland in the winter.
The only thing I dislike about the winters here is when it rains unexpectedly and the roads turn into an ice rink. I also struggle with how short the days become after October given that we’re so far up north.
The Expedia.ca article said that being snowed in is “no problem” for Burns Lakers. “They’ll simply break out their snowmobiles,” said the author.
Although this is somewhat true since a lot people around here own snowmobiles, I’m sure that many others – just like me – would be helpless in a snowstorm like the one that took place in 1999, when 145 cm was dumped in a single day (I wonder how that’s even possible).
But what surprised me the most about the Expedia.ca article was not the fact that Burns Lake was a part of it, but the fact that I felt a strange sense of pride.
Although that sounds odd when I say it out loud, maybe I am not the only one who thinks that way. Although Canadians love to complain about the weather, they also feel a sense of pride for braving their tough winters every year.
Take a look at what lawyer and essayist William Alexander Foster wrote in 1871, “For we are a northern people, as the true out-crop of human nature, more manly, more real than the weak marrow-bones superstition of the effeminate south.”
So maybe being part of that list is not so bad. On behalf of Lakes District News, I wish everyone a merry Christmas!