January 15, 2016 / By: Hardeep Singh

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Canadian Cities, Calgary, Human Resources
Back To List

When I moved to Alberta a few years ago, I didn't expect to have much trouble adapting to my new home.

Having grown up in India, I knew there would be considerable differences, but I was confident that with the common language and some similarities in the culture I would be able to adapt and one day soon feel at home. My sister would always mention about the harsh winters in Alberta but I would just laugh it off, and then, when I landed here the temperature was -25° C, this was a real shock to me. I started questioning her as to how people could function at such low temperatures?

It was November and it was freezing. The city was covered with what I thought at the time was a thick blanket of snow, but what I would come to realize, is that this was just a modest dusting. I wasn't shocked by the snow, but rather the lung-numbing cold that hit me the moment I stepped out of the airport's revolving doors. As soon as I found myself outside I began to shiver uncontrollably. People can try to describe -25° C using very colourful language – however, those words will never match the human sensation of cold. My ears started to tingle and then ring. Wow, that is real.

Since my frigid arrival and now having lived in Calgary for the last three years, I have encountered winter temperatures well below what I experienced that first day. One proud moment during my first winter in Canada found me surviving a -28° C (with wind chill, as they say) while walking across the blustery, barren streets. I must add, rather sheepishly, that the walk was my idea, and I am afraid it seemed like the longest walk ever. I spent much of the time clutching my ears and cursing into the wind, and later decided that I should take a bus home. I learned the hard way, always check the weather network before leaving the house.

But it is with a huge sense of pride that I am surviving my third winter, thinking myself tough indeed, and capable of handling anything this country could throw at me.

Here I am after surviving that freezing walk. I have fond memories of my first winter in Canada. It's unpredictable weather. I've seen Canadian children playing hockey on frozen ponds in temperatures I never knew existed, people, walking to the supermarket down streets lined with five-foot snowbanks and hardy women wearing short dresses and high heels for a night out in January. All this, Canadians do, and they also rollerblade in 35°C heat?

I am mightly proud of myself these days, like I'm becoming more Canadian with each passing winter season. I want to own my first pair of cross-country skis, as well as a pair of snowshoes and try ice skating. I don't want to stay indoors all winter, and I am working hard to try to embrace the opportunities that snow and ice offers. I even enjoy shoveling the snow off the pavement.

Wish me luck as I continue to not only survive but thrive in these wondrously cold Canadian winters.

(Also, I wish the recently arriving Syrian refugees luck in getting to the point that I am at, of appreciating the crazy cold in Canada.)


Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly-traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.

Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.