Snow, and why its not my friend.


I moved to Vancouver from Toronto to get away from the winters of Toronto, among other reasons.

These winters can be long, cold and often snowy.  Whereas the winters in Vancouver tend to be mild, wet and less snow.

Toronto’s snow can be dry and can stick around for weeks.  Vancouver’s snow tends to be wet and usually will disappear within a few days.

In the middle of winter in Toronto, you’d need a toque, gloves, long johns, snow pants (for the kids) and snow boots.  Plus scarves and other things.  I was actually considering giving away a majority of our winter wear, this winter we did not need snow pants or gloves.  It was not until February 19th, 2018, that my boys needed to wear snow pants to school.  They had winter coats, and used them daily, but nothing else.  It is too warm here.

Now, recently Mother Nature dumped a large amount of snow on the Lower Mainland, a term for all of Metro Vancouver.  Which can happen, occasionally.  And I am reminded why I don’t like walking in the snow.

Both my vision and my ataxia are main characters in this story.

Vision, or lack of, causes me to not see: how deep the snow drift is, differences in levels of snow, ice, snow eddies and snow cones.

Ataxia is involved because if I can’t see the different height of one pile of snow and the other, my coordination is thrown out the window. My balance fails and I fall.

Getting back to comparisons between Vancouver and Toronto.  Regarding snow removal.  Toronto has a fleet of sidewalk snowplows, which are used all over the city, with every days after a snowfall.  Cleaning up the sidewalks.  Vancouver, I am not sure about these sidewalk snowplows.  With little yearly snowfall, it is unlikely that Vancouver’s municipalities would have a “fleet” but maybe one!   I am pretty sure this solo plow is used for vital sidewalks on busy streets.  Then again, maybe not.  Today we walked on the busy street for half a block because the there was a huge snowbank preventing us to gain access to the sidewalk.

That is one thing that both Toronto and Vancouver seem to do, the sidewalk is clear, until you get to the curb or ramp to cross walk.  Both cities seem to think that pedestrians are Olympic long jumpers who can easily clear a three foot wide snowbank on ramp to the street!  Ugh!

Many municipalities in the Lower Mainland have by-laws that require home and business owners to remove snow from their sidewalks.  Which is good and helpful, until there is an empty lot or two.  Who is supposed to clean those off?  If one owns that it?  Or what if the owner is away on a cruise?  I believe that this is a way for the municipality to avoid responsibility, the city is telling people to clear their snow.  Thereby the city is handing off snow removal to owners, which saves city budget, and then city avoids liability because if someone falls and breaks a leg on an sidewalk that is not clear, the responsibility falls (pun intended) on the owner, who failed to clear their snow. The city gets of scot-free. Lucky.

BTW, I am probably erroneously putting all Vancouver municipalities into the same (snow) pile.  I have only had the pleasure of walking the snow covered sidewalks of Port Moody.  Maybe Coqutilam or Surrey has a more comprehensive snow removal program.

Snow and I don’t mix, well actually, we do, when I fall into a snowdrift or snow bank because I did not see the lumps of snow, and my balance gives out!  I get all snowy and annoyed and its a dangerous mix, with a chance of a broken bone or tow.


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