Believe it or not, Canada gets quite a bit of tourism annually. I don’t know the exact statistics but I know it’s a lot every time I try to visit Niagara Falls. I have this friend, M, who was here on a one year work term from Slovakia. She arrived in the summer with an understated expectation of the type of winter that occurs here. Early spring we sat outside our corporate offices with all the other weather-optimistic suits and gave Canada an honest review.
The thing is, Canada has charm. It steals your heart at the beginning of its glorious summer when the sun shines to a Floridian extent and every park abounds with HD flora. There’s even a 72 hour window where you can go swimming without freezing vital organs (I exaggerate…slightly). Cities are filled with pedestrians enjoying street festivals in light summer wear. Rooftop parties are everywhere and camping is a must!
Then there’s fall. Summer mildly tapers off and yields to the brightest most fiery spectacle of color as nature prepares for something to which you are blissfully ignorant. You travel the province taking pictures of the leaves, with the leaves, in piles of leaves. You celebrate the season and are momentarily grateful for the cooler days. Don’t worry, I do it too. Soon after, the leaves fall and the freezing rains begin. But! You are still OK with this because Christmas is coming! Everything will smell like gingerbread, spiked hot chocolate and glitter so it’s OK. There are holiday markets covered in twinkly lights and Christmas tree lightings in every park and square and a clone of Santa is stationed at every shopping establishment. You are already wearing about 20 layers of clothing but you don’t mind because half of that is ugly Christmas sweaters and sparkly tights so whatever. You’re festive.
But just as you’re nursing your New Year’s Eve hangover, reality finally sets in. There are no major holidays until Easter, the sun has moved to Florida indefinitely and your credit card statement arrives. So you (and the rest of the country) decide to book a discounted vacation somewhere warm. You then spend the next two months counting down to that trip which seems to last 5 minutes and spend the following two months checking the weather for the next day that’s “not so bad.” You then have standing plans with Netflix and your couch doing your best not to count the consecutive sunless days. (Or maybe it’s just me.)
Until spring. In May everything starts to bloom again. Basic pictures of cherry and magnolia blossoms flood your Instagram feed and you eagerly venture to see them for yourself. But don’t forget to bundle up because the temperatures are still colder than anything south of Miami will ever see! Then finally, and seemingly overnight, every tree sprouts leaves and within a week, the HD canopy of green leaves is back. Coats and boots are shed and promptly replaced with shorts and summer dresses. The “feels like” temperatures hike up to the sweltering 30’s (…still Celsius) out of nowhere as spring makes the not-so-subtle transition into summer. Canada has been resuscitated. Once again patios reopen and are instantly repopulated as individuals overspend on a pint to socialize with others in the sunshine. Tourists and locals alike crowd popular destinations such as Toronto Islands, the Falls and every urban “beach” known to the area, ignorant of the inevitable seasonal changes that are never too far ahead.
Enjoy the sunshine fellow Torontonians!