Snow? Tales from Snowbound Vancouver
The scrape of my neighbour’s snow shovel is
clearly audible through my windows, a light snow still falls
and the city snow plow has just arrived at the community centre
parking lot across the street. Welcome to Vancouver?
My right shoulder aches and I’ve developed
new muscles in my forearms from tossing snow onto an ever
higher bank at the bottom of my driveway. Neither of my cars
are parked near my house, actually, as it has become a bit
like playing the lottery venturing out the half block from my
house to the nearest, more-travelled side street. Instead, we
park at the community centre, home now to many of my
This year, I put chains on my car for the
first time ever in the city. Without them, we wouldn’t have
been able to attend my sister’s family Christmas dinner. It
was like driving a tank, clanking along Kingsway with the
occasional passerby gaping at our noisy passing. I’ve
developed an unexpected envy for SUV drivers (and other cars
with a higher clearance above the middle “ridge” of snow
present on every side street).
Last night, I got a call from my daughter
who, after waiting more than half an hour for a bus on nearby
Main Street, was half frozen and frustrated. Of course, when I
made my icy way over to rescue her, three buses appeared! With
the Olympics a little over a year away, many of us wonder how
Vancouver will cope. Apparently, three weeks of snow blows our
yearly removal budget—not a good sign.
Snow changes everything, I’ve decided. The
city has adapted, sort of, to this new reality, but having
major snowfalls really introduces you to the best and worst of
human nature. Yesterday a group of neighbours were out
shovelling the intersection near my home. It’s been tricky
making the corner lately and their efforts have sure helped.
But, at the same time, some neighbours have never once
shovelled their walks.
I’ve also been making mental notes of the
merchants on nearby Main Street who have and have not
(a bylaw requirement). When I saw the 70 year old lady who
owns a local florist shop shovelling before the 10 a.m.
deadline, I was pretty sure that the guys running the local
chicken wing franchise had little excuse for leaving their
sidewalk icy and nearly impassable.
Today, the weather office forecasts a major
warming trend in the next 24 hours, but they did the same last
weekend and, instead, we got another dump of snow just in time
for New Year's. So, cross your fingers and pray for rain,
something I thought I’d never say as a resident of
I hope you are all well and haven’t
sustained too many bruises or aching muscles in this
unprecedented snow. Happy New Year and see you at school!
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