Ottawa is a frozen wasteland

As much as I enjoyed Ashley’s party tonight, the walk home afterwards has left me convinced that humans should not live in this place. After about forty minutes out there, well insulated, my whole body is in pain. My breath is frozen to my face in painful sheets of ice, and I have had an agonizing cold-induced headache since getting halfway home.

I want to live somewhere saner.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

14 thoughts on “Ottawa is a frozen wasteland”

  1. Can more appropriate clothing not mitigate the cold?

    Yes. One reason the unwelcome cold of the winter is better than the inescapable heat of the summer.

    That said, I was reasonably well dressed for cold. It was the biting wind (also possible to defend against) that was really painful.

  2. That sounds absolutely miserable – especially for someone without a car.

  3. Yeah, wind chill makes a HUGE difference. This morning I had shitty turnout at my pap test clinic because even though most of our 95 clients confirmed, very few were willing to brave the -20 before wind chill weather. You try convincing your clients from Sudan that it’s warm enough to wait 30 minutes for a bus in that kind of cold.

    Without my knee-length MEC down coat, life here would be even more of a frozen hell than it already is. It works great, but when that wind picks up there is no hiding from it!

    I’m surprised though, I always thought Ottawa was a pretty nice place. I mean frozen, yeah. But wasteland?

  4. I can’t believe you stayed out there for 40 minutes… My tolerance level is about 15 minutes of heavy wind-in-your-face cold. I suppose there is more walking distance in Ottawa, but seriously, nobody should be out there at night for more than half an hour if they can help it.

    Please enlighten me on how to defend against the wind. I’ll need to know about that when it goes down to -30 in February… I had a very difficult relationship with the wind last year.

  5. This week’s predicted highs and lows:

    Sunday: -11˚C -13˚C
    Monday: -4˚C -11˚C
    Tuesday: -6˚C -12˚C
    Wednesday: -6˚C -15˚C
    Thursday: -8˚C -14˚C
    Friday: -4˚C -15˚C

    I stand behind the ‘frozen wasteland’ comment.

  6. especially for someone without a car

    You won’t see me even considering getting a car until they are fueled in a sustainable way: as with all-electric motors and batteries charged by renewable power.

    Even then, there are serious objections about all the land use inefficiency, and the ugliness of a transport option that requires moving a tonne of metal to transport a hundred kilos of flesh and supplies.

    I’m surprised though, I always thought Ottawa was a pretty nice place. I mean frozen, yeah. But wasteland?

    I have had the good fortune to live only in really exceptional places: Vancouver and Oxford. Compared to either, Ottawa is quite a bad option – uncomfortable, parochial, and dull.

    Please enlighten me on how to defend against the wind.

    I think it is a matter of getting Arctic expedition type gear from MEC: heavy down insulation with Gore® Windstopper fabric on the outside. Much as I love my AEGIS jacket, it is of little use in cold and dry conditions.

  7. Winter weather stretching from sea to sea

    “Vast swathes of Canada are under some type of weather warning this morning, from B.C.’s Queen Charlotte Islands to Cape Breton, N.S.

    “Really, truly, we’re almost united in this country, because we’re dealing today with winter weather from coast to coast to coast to coast,” Environment Canada climatologist Dave Phillips told Canada AM on Monday.”

  8. “In Ontario, the greater Ottawa region can expect heavy snow today, along with freezing rain and ice pellets. Accumulations are expected to be between 20 and 30 centimetres by day’s end.”

  9. “Greater Vancouver is under a wind and rainfall warning. Phillips attributed that to a “pineapple express,” a storm system that brings warm air and is heavily laden with moisture. Vancouver could see 70 millimetres of rain, and Squamish, to the north of Vancouver, might get up to 120 mm of rain.

    The heavy rainfall has led to worries about flooding.”

  10. But you had your wine coat on due to the large glasses- the volume of which takes twice as much as a standard wine glass, I know how you hate to drink too much wine.

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