***Update: Congrats to William, Stephanie, Lottie, Liz and Steve! We have randomly chosen your names as winners of our new Toque & Canoe windshield scrapers. We’ll be in touch via e-mail for your snail mail addresses. Happy Holidays everyone. And thanks to ALL who participated in our little contest.

 

Free Toque & Canoe swag anyone? We’re giving away five of our brand new, credit card-sized ice scrapers in a random draw.

All you have to do is tell us here—in a few lines to a paragraph—about your COLDEST Canadian winter weather moment.

Where were you? What were you doing? How cold was it? And what makes your moment so memorable?

Our draw closes December 16, 2015 at midnight.

 

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Comment here

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  1. Cory Laybourne commented:

    My coldest winter moment was in Fort McMurray, Alberta. I was snowblowing at minus 60! It’s memorable because holy was it ever cold and you couldn’t stay outside for more than 30 minutes before having to go back inside and warm up.

    Reply

      • Ross Lehto commented:

        I was looking after my brothers ‘little house on the prairie’ west of Crossfield Ab.over Christmas one year. The one source of heat came from the large propane tank in the yard. When temperatures reach beyond -40 propane can gel up and did! I left the house still warm on Xmas Eve, but when I returned Boxing Day the house had a bad makeover! Pipes burst, toilet cracked and the plants were fried! The outdoor cat lost its ears! That’s cold!

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  2. Jim G commented:

    My coldest was December of 1983.

    I was driving a Honda Accord from Victoria to Montreal as a way to make my way home from the west after a summer of working on the CN railway gangs while in University.

    I left Victoria on a sunny day around the 2nd week of December, maybe 15 C.

    That night I stayed in Vancouver, still warm, little wet. As I travelled East the temperature fell, at Rogers Pass the snow! Well, calling it a blizzard would be understating the situation. Following dim, glowing tail lights through a snowball might be closer…
    Upon arriving in Calgary the weather had cleared, but well below zero. The following miring was truly beautiful, striking out on a sunny winters day, the prairies were glistening. By nightfall though the car’s heater was running full bore, as I arrived in Regina the road side temperature signs read -45F.

    The next morning the Honda was not pleased, after a couple of waaan, waaan said the engine finally sputtered reluctantly to life to slowly warm up. Temp reading -50F.

    Passing through Winnipeg, temp reading -50 I decided to pus on towards Thunderbay and beyond…

    At longlac, at 2:30am on a brilliant, moonless, crystal clear night I slowed for a wrecker stopped in the middle of the two lane highway, suddenly the oil light flashed brilliantly. After pulling the car as close to the snowbank I investigated the engine compartment to find oil everywhere, except in the engine as evidenced by the dry dipstick.

    The wrecker approached, frozen transport truck in tow, and slowed to ask whether there was a problem. After describing the situation he told me to climb in, “it’s -65 out here, if I leave you here you’ll be dead by morning”.

    The following day the car was towed to the garage and after taking 4 hours to thaw, the problem wasn’t found but the temp had warmed to -50 so I departed.

    The car was finally delivered to the recipient in Montreal 4 days later as scheduled.

    Reply

  3. Christine commented:

    A few years ago I was living in Edmonton, AB and we had some particularly cold days one winter. I rode two buses to work and due to the weather there were often breakdowns and delays in transit. One day while waiting for my second bus it was apparent that something had happened because no bus showed up until about 1/2 hour later. I was so cold, and had never wished so much for a heated bus shelter. Brrrrr!

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  4. Jane Kane commented:

    My coldest moment ever was in 2009… we were visiting family in Ottawa for Christmas. We have lived in Australia too long to remember how freaking freezing it gets! Our family thought it would be special to go and cut our Christmas tree down…
    So, we went out on a day when the sun appeared to be shining and it seemed it would be mild… NOT!
    After 20 mins in the below 15 degrees weather I started to hyper ventilate and the pain in my hands became unbearable! I begged to go back to the shack where I passed out and still to this day have wonky thumb nails from getting mild frostbite!
    The tree was brilliant and the Christmas special…. my husband, who cleaned the wind screen in his board shorts can’t wait to do it all again….

    Reply

  5. penny evans commented:

    Was cross country skiing in March and it had warmed up quite abit so I left my coat on a fence I was in short sleeved T shirt.The wind switched back out of the North.I was 5 km to the car.Kicked my skiis and walked to conserve energy.I didn’t think I was going to make it Took me three hours to warm up.Never left my coat again..

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  6. Stefanie Harris commented:

    I remember one morning in Groundbirch, BC during the winter of ’94 when we had been in a cold snap of -40s for over a week and I was considering taking the kids to the community store, so I was trying to read the thermometer that was fastened to the outside of kitchen window. Now this was an old house with single-paned windows so it was pretty commonplace to have to scrape the frost off the window to read that thermometer, so I scraped the frost off to read if it was above -40 C but no cigar. Colder.
    I kept scraping the frost off and still no mercury was visible as -45 C, -50 C and then -55 C appeared. In disbelief, I scraped the frost down to the final increment of -60 C on that thermometer to come to the sad sight of the mercury balled up at the base.
    What the actual temperature was that day will be a mystery as it was colder than that thermometer could indicate!
    Needless to say, the kids and I stayed home that day.

    Reply

  7. Chris Malloy commented:

    My coldest memory was as a university student in Thunder Bay! Some winter mornings my nostrils and eyelids would starts to freeze shut while walking to class! I also froze a case of beer on the balcony in the time that it took me to drink one bottle! Brrrrr!

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  8. Sue King commented:

    Driving up to Slave Lake in a blizzard from Edmonton in 1983 with my roommate to surprise our boyfriends in -50. We got to Slave Lake and went into a coffeeshop for a quick cup of coffee. Went back out to the car and it was dead! Ha! The surprise was on us……lol

    Reply

  9. Kevin Taylor commented:

    I was living in Dawson City, Yukon and it was one of the coldest winters I remember over my eleven years there. I was outside my cabin and it was dead silent, no wind with nothing moving, when I heard a noise like silk over sandpaper. Wondering what it was, I held my breath and listened for it again. Nothing. I exhaled and immediately heard it again…realizing then it was my breath freezing to ice in the -58C (70F) cold and I could hear it loudly doing so.

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  10. Kristina commented:

    Snowshoeing through Algonquin park for the first time ever, last winter in mid-February. I don’t live near the park and the only day I could make it up was when there was a deep cold warning (probably close to -30). It was so cold, I could literally only have my eyes showing (every other part of my face was completely covered and double wrapped lol) It was an amazing experience! I fell in-love with Algonquin in its least harshest season and one of the harshest winter days I have known, and I continue to go back ever since, every season. My heart belongs to the north now!

    Reply

  11. Elisabeth commented:

    Waiting for the bus in Calgary at 6am -41 degrees
    Oh and seeing a branch break off our tree in our backyard during the ice storm of ’98 (I was 7 years old and still remember that loud CRACK we heard!)

    Reply

  12. Janet Ruel commented:

    Moving to Edmonton from Vancouver in the middle of winter and it was -32, with snow past our knees. We had never experienced a true Canadian winter before even though we were Canadian and we didn’t even know what our backyard looked like in our new house until Spring as it was frozen solid.

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  13. Yve Kosugi commented:

    I was in grade three. In Saskatchewan. It was -52 F not including the windchill. I still had to walk to school. I hated my life that day. I may still be traumatized.

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  14. GordN commented:

    My Dad & I decided to go “winter camping”. Went out to Kananaskis, set up the tent and start a fire. Got the stove out and made some pasta with Tomato sauce. It’s getting colder and dark, like 6 pm. Can’t sit anywhere, snows too deep (we had dig out the fire-pit) Dad says, hey, let’s head over to the William Watson Lodge, they have an interpretative talk. Off we go and have a listen, warm up…Nice Park lady doing the talk so I saunter up to ask a question. OK, so all warm and time to go to the warm washroom in the lodge before heading back to the tent. I look in the mirror, I have a huge stream of red tomato sauce from my lip down my chin.
    Back to the tent, it’s about -15 now, for some reason I change the sleeping pad, it’s not so good turns out, my body heat melts the snow and moisture creeps in and about 2 am, my bags wet. Every time I move around, the frost on the roof of the tent falls down around us like snow. First light, -18 we get up, start the car, drive home. Never been winter camping since.

    Reply

  15. Liz Miller commented:

    Grew up on the West Coast where it just doesn’t get that cold. Went to Sherbrooke Quebec for a University event in February 1987 and went for a walk in regular leggings in -30. Someone had to carry me to a restaurant to warm up. I had no idea!!

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  16. Susan Mahtab commented:

    New years eve 1973 in Winnipeg it was -48 degrees. We were all jammed in our car trying to keep warm from body heat. The tires felt like they were square ..like frozen Fred Flintstone tires lol.

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  17. Nicola Ramsey commented:

    Tumbler Ridge, B.C. December 29 1984

    An icy wind on top of an already bitterly cold day. With the windchill, -57. The car heater couldn’t keep up. People who were travelling phoned to cancel. They had to watch their livestock. They were afraid to drive the lonely road with their kids. We understood. Others came in a convoy from out of town. My sister-in-law tried to decorate the car using freezer tape, but nothing worked until she tried spitting on the decorations and they froze right on the car.

    My wedding day, 31 years ago.

    Reply

  18. Angelo N commented:

    It was the first night of a 5 day calculated drive from Whitehorse to Vancouver at the end of November 2014. My co- driver and I stopped for the night at Liard Hotsprings lodge. I think it was minus 30 and I was not leaving the area without a dip in the springs. The walk there was painfully cold and taking off layers of clothing was even more painful however the waters were soothing and kept us warm. The moon was the only illumination that night and the steam rising provided an eerie backdrop. After about 2 hours , putting back our clothes was even trickier trying to control your body from trembling due to the sudden drop of temperature as we got out of the water. There were 2 seasoned truckers there as well who invited us to warm up in their heated cab after what seemed to be a longer hike back. A shot or two of alcohol never tasted soo good.

    Reply

  19. AmandaF commented:

    Splitboarding along the ice fields parkway, it was -30 at the car, we skinned up for 3 hours and when we went to put our boards together at the top, it was so cold that my binding broke and I had to telemark and walk back down. :/

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  20. Matthew Corbett commented:

    I was walking home across a lake in New Brunswick with the family golden retriever during an ice pellet storm, when we broke through the ice not far from shore. The water was cold, but not as cold the rest of the walk home with my snow suit freezing solid and wind driving bits of ice in my face.

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  21. David Ramsey commented:

    I remember a winter Scout camp, back in the 60’s. Likely our sleeping bags were not quite up to the task, so we got up at 04:30, built a fire and ate chocolate chunks.

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  22. Steve Braun commented:

    We are fortunate to have a 1/4 section of forested land in the foothills. We love to camp there year-round (at least I do; my wife is not quite as enthused about camping in the white stuff). I believe it was 5 years ago a group of us spent a very cold New Year’s Eve sitting outside by a crackling fire with a temperature of -24 C!! We made it to midnight (some stayed up later yet!), and lived to tell the tale!

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  23. Alex S. commented:

    It was a cold December night in Saskatoon. My friend and I decided it was the perfect night for tobogganing. We went to Canadian Tire and bought a couple cheap plastic sleds and crazy carpets. The teenager working thought we were insane, because obviously we were *too old* to be tobogganing. We were in our early twenties. My friend had a bottle of Baileys – but we needed hot chocolate, so we made a pit stop at a Co-op Gas Bar to fill up a couple travel mugs. In all our planning, we forgot to take into account that it was -30 degrees. We were dressed for the cold, but anyone who has tried sledding in -30 knows that it doesn’t matter how warm you dress – the snow is way too frozen! There was no soft landing in sight. We went down the hill maybe two or three times before we decided to call it a night.

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  24. Anne Marie commented:

    I was born in the Yukon, mostly raised on Calgary, always been a winter girl! I must say tho! Having to de-ice the locks on the car can be a real bummer at -30!!!

    Have to quote Elsa here: The cold never really bothered me anyway! Let it go 😛

    Reply

  25. Rhonda commented:

    My expedition with a real-life trapper “Trapperman”, this past February 2015. It was -30 Celsius as we trekked for more than 4 hours. We witnessed bald & golden eagles and even managed to trap a beaver. Our outdoor cookout included fresh Golden Lake whitefish and a little Irish Whiskey.
    A memory to last a lifetime.

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  26. Lottie commented:

    My memory is from April 2014. In Eastern Canada we had a terrible blizzard and over 48 hours of freezing rain. Although the temperatures warmed up, the house was at 12C because of the prolonged outtage. We were all frozen and hungry so I put on my husbands survival suit and boiled hotwater for tea for everyone (neighbours too), and made pasta on the BBQ. It made us all laugh and forget how cold we were. Still today the trees behind the house have large branches broken that haven’t fallen.

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  27. Cal Martin commented:

    In March 2014, I travelled to Tuktoyaktuk, NT, to facilitate a workshop. While there, I participated in a school program and headed to the top of a pingo (yup, that’s really a thing). It was somewhere around -60 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. I pulled down my scarf to take some photos, and one of the aboriginal kids told me, “Dude, your face is WHITE.” I thought he was making a racial comment, but, nope, I had frost-bite on my cheeks from exposure.

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      • Cal Martin commented:

        Oh yeah, pingos are fascinating! They are ice-filled hills that rise up and up over the flat tundra. It is a result of water run-off that freezes from the permafrost, heaving the earth up into sometimes massive hills. The area around Tuktoyaktuk is filled with pingos, including Canada’s tallest. They will be much easier to visit when the Dempster Highway is extended to Tuk within a couple of years. Just google “Pingo Canadian Landmark” and read all about them!

        Cal

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  28. Chris Derro commented:

    I believe the year was 1994; 2 straight weeks of temps below -25 in Sudbury. Had to get out of bed every few hours overnight and start our vehicles. No guarantees the block heaters could handle the job. (Please, pick me!!)

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  29. Cameron Paton commented:

    As a child I happily endured three winters in Yellowknife.
    Little heat … -30° was common, and less sunshine, but it was generally pleasant, once the feeling had returned to my fingers and toes.
    The coldest I have ever felt, by far though, was February in Vancouver, BC
    A windy -4° and sleet pounding me sideways.
    after 2 hours in a warm bath my bones still felt the chill.

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  30. Barb Kelly commented:

    About ten years ago in January, I returned to Regina after a week in the Dominican Republic. The air temperature (without windchill) in Regina was -55. It was only -52 on Mars that day. We had gone from +32 Celsius to -55 Celcius!

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  31. Mike Fancie commented:

    Last February I was volunteering at the Yukon Quest checkpoint at Braeburn Lodge. The Quest is a 1,000-mile dogsled race between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska — and does it ever freeze.

    On this particular night, the mercury dropped to a hair above minus 50 celsius, which is enough to make you stuff your electronics in the bib of your snowpants as your breath freezes into icicles on the outside of the scarf you’ve wrapped across your face and you shuffle around in front of the ten-foot-tall bonfire that’s warming up volunteers and the Quest’s caravan of media beside the checkpoint.

    I was signing mushers in and inspecting sleds for mandatory equipment like a hatchet, sleeping bag and snowshoes. And that meant spending a lot of time outside. Waiting. Craning necks down the trail in search of the glimmer of a headlamp or the beads of a dog team’s eyes.

    Suddenly, the sky flickers and then lights up in a sea of dancing green waves as a geomagnetic storm turns the Northern Lights on in full force. Everything stops as the aurora dominates the site. The media turn their cameras on the show and take photos that will get thousands of impressions online the next day. And for a moment, even though it’s fifty below, nobody feels very cold.

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  32. Kim Kelly commented:

    CFL Playoff 1980. Western Final in Edmonton. -40 windy and snowy . But us Esk Wives knew we had to wear our fur, be classy and best of all sneak in our flasks. Best game ever in winters Edmonton

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