Canadian Winter Wonders

18 Jan

Last spring, my friend Andrew quit his job, sold his condo and took off for a year of adventuring around the world. Since then, he’s floated in the Dead Sea, had monkeys steal his laundry and slept in the place where Buddha found enlightenment. (Check out his adventures here.)

This weekend, Andrew sent me a message that went something like this, “Hi Chris, I’m in Kerala, India, loving beach life. I’m drinking beers by the sea, after another +30 degree day.”

Hrmph. Well, Andrew, I’m drinking steamed milk with chocolate sprinkles at my desk, watching the sunrise on yet another morning of -20 temperatures, with an avalanche blocking the highways out from Lake Louise.

But, it’s not terrible. I’m quite cheery today. The morning is waking up beautiful and pink, and I’m taking Friday off to play in the mountains with S.

We’d go collectively bonkers in this country if we let cold weather dictate our happiness. In fact, our famously frigid Canadian winters have inspired some wonderful things like toboggans (a Canadian invention) and, one of my favourites, Lawren Harris’ Mount LeFroy.

For this cold pink morning, I put together a list of fun wintery pieces from Canadians — a reminder that -20 isn’t such a terrible state of affairs.

Like knitted sweaters and hats from Vancouver-based clothing label Granted. The label was launched in 2007 by a brother and sister whose parents started their hand-knitting company in 1978. I love the looks of this lumberjack vest:

And this fun deer toque:

I love my mitts by the small Ontario label Hides in Hand. You couldn’t wear these in conditions warmer than -10 — your hands would melt off from sweating.

Montreal’s La Canadienne is my go-to company for winter boots that are both stylish and practical. I own a pair of four-year-old wedges that still come out for dress-up events on bitterly cold days. For more casual affairs, I like this fun pair from their 2010 collection:

What’s winter without hot chocolate? I’m hooked on Calgary’s Choklat, one of only two chocolatiers in Canada that make their own chocolate. They also bake brownies that will make you hear angels. (If you like wine and chocolate — who doesn’t? — check out the fun pairing list that local wine shop Zyn and Choklat put together.)

And other good things that come along with winter: chinooks, ski weekends with friends, coming home to garlicky tortellini soup made by the boy, hunkering down for a night of Cranium, outdoor skating rinks, fuzzy socks and those icy crystals that dance in the air.

(Of course, Andrew, if you want to buy me a ticket to visit you in Kerala, I can leave this afternoon.)

~Chris

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2 Responses to “Canadian Winter Wonders”

  1. Andrew January 18, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    You have actually made me miss Canadian winter with this post. Throwing in one of my favourite Group of Seven paintings really did it. I’ll have to console my lonesomeness with another day at the beach tomorrow! (yes, I’m an a**)

    (…and i’d gladly buy you a ticket to Kerala, but sadly I leave for Thailand in less than two weeks…)

    seriously, love your and Michelle’s blog…great writing! Chat soon!

  2. Sarah Frangou January 19, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    I loveeeee that vest

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