Still Snowing

It’s a myth that Victorians don’t own shovels. Everyone owns a shovel, and they can’t wait to use it. Today is a snow day, for the school kids and it seems for almost everyone else in the city. From a Manitoban’s perspective, this still feels like the blizzard that never was, but a lot can change in a day.

Morning

The sound of shovels scraping concrete echoed through my neighbourhood this morning. While there are still some pretty flakes falling gently, that didn’t stop EVERYONE from getting outside to start digging out from the great blizzard of 2019.  It feels a little like Islanders pretending to be Canadian. I overheard some very Canadian phrases that are not often uttered here. One neighbour to another, “I’m just going to clean off this snow and then take the kids sledding.” Victorians clear all of their snow, from their own sidewalks and driveways to the public sidewalk in front of their homes, and their neighbours if they can sneak in fast enough. One woman I stopped to chat with, “I’m just helping my neighbour and getting a little exercise.” Her neighbour was also out, and at least 40 years younger than her.

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The Rainbow Kitchen is right behind our building, run by the Esquimalt United Church. Every day they serve up a hot breakfast to anyone hungry, and distribute bags of groceries.  A man with a cane was slowly making his way down the street for some groceries, not yet aware it was closed. A woman, clearly a stranger to him, was coming the other way. “Are you looking for food?” she asked. “Yes, my grandson is living with me, and I had to use the food money to buy some extra warm blankets for him.” Without hesitation, this stranger took him by the arm, “Come on, let’s get you some groceries.” I don’t know where she took him, to her house, to the grocery store. Kindness in the storm.

I spent the rest of my walk marveling at the effort expended in cleaning up from this very light dusting of snow. Snow plows and bobcats were called into action.  Liberal salting was ongoing. I don’t know why Victorians have so much salt on hand.  Our local grocery store, the Red Barn put a placard out on the street, proudly proclaiming they were still open, despite the obvious emergency. Our yoga class was only half full, and the pool was pleasantly deserted. Skiing at Mount Washington is going to be fantastic.

Afternoon

Weather can change pretty quickly around here. By the time we got out of the pool, a true snowstorm was raging. The Red Barn, proud of staying open a few hours ago is now dark and closed. Only the main bus routes are running. The news is warning people to stay home if you can. Our neighbours little boy is building a snowman on the rooftop patio. We get an email that our dance class is canceled. After 4 days of promise, it’s finally time to hunker down.

We live on a pretty busy intersection, the corner of Admirals and Esquimalt.  At 5 PM it’s usually quite congested, with the navy shift change clogging the road in one direction, and everyone else clogging it in the other.

I took Tucker out at rush hour, and the roads were deserted. Like a beacon in the storm, the only establishment still open is our fabulous liquor store, the Tudor House.  The Navy was let out early last Friday morning, and they haven’t been back since.

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The local news says 25 cm of snow fell over night, not right here but somewhere in Victoria. It’s even worse up north towards Nanaimo. We’re not driving to Mount Washington today. I hope all this beautiful snow sticks around for a while, we’ll try to get there next Tuesday.

The temperature is still hovering around zero.

Victoria Blizzard - Day 3
Winter in Victoria

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