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Challenges Blog
November 2011- Archives

By Christine Selinger

Everyone has that one day they remember; that one winter day that really stands out amongst the rest.  In late December of 2006 I had flown from my home in Regina to Kamloops, where my sister Chelsea was in the Adventure Program at Thompson Rivers University.  I was thrilled to...

One Winter by Maria McCullagh

In Quebec City, snow begins to fall when the most stubborn leaves are still clinging to branches.  Often as early as mid-November, when it is still officially autumn, we wake up to a permanent blanket of snow that throws the city into timelessness.  Quebec becomes a caricature of itself: silent,...

My Nonna by Carrie Hayes

Picture it...Montreal...1970. I was seven years old and already a seasoned Montreal 'winter' pro. Walking to school atop eight foot snow banks? Check. Spending days being literally snowed-in our house? Check. I thought I had, in my young years, seen all that a Montreal winter could muster up. I forget the...

Out of the Grey by John Woolfrey

I've often heard people say: Montreal comes alive in summer. Maybe they like all the life outside in the streets, but when it gets to thirty degrees and ninety per cent humidity, all I want to do is leave the crowds, head for the hills and jump in the lake.In...

The Pink Mohair Scarf by Deborah Whelan

Between snowflakes that smear the windows like globs of glue, I strain to see what they're doing. They don't know that I'm watching. A few minutes ago, I heard them creep into the back porch, even though they were almost silent as they rifled through the closet. I have very...

Skating With Owls by Chris McMahen

In the winter of 1974, snowy owls arrived in Victoria.  These brilliant white birds perched on the edges of the emerald green fairways of the Victoria Golf Club.  Snowy owls in a place that rarely got snow.If snow actually fell, as kids, we would frantically slide, build snowmen and make...

Heating Costs by Lisa Woolman

The devil drives a Propane truck. He seemed so friendly in the spring, when he kindly recommended the fixed price program. So, quick as a dipping thermometer, I sold my soul to the propane man. It all started in September. My husband and I argued about the kind of garbage couples argue about when...

In The Winter of 1939 by Linda Dowhaniuk

When my father was a twelve year old, it fell to him to go on a rescue mission in a blizzard.  His aunt and her six month old baby were stranded in an old farm house with no heat or food. Her nearest neighbor was an older lady who was...

Ice Caves by Kathryn Zdybel

The way I remember it is that mom would tuck me and my sisters into our toques and snowpants and dad would lead us like a troop of ducks down to the lake. I grew up in Bruce County, Ontario; "Land of the Horizontal Snow" dad calls it because of...

When She Takes a Walk by Heather Cromarty

When my Mom's diagnosis finally came I went home as soon as I could. I arrived on Boxing Day. It was a relief to my Dad to have someone in the house. He'd been leaving her alone, going to work. He couldn't afford not to. On returning he'd often find...

C Word by Doug Koop

It seems I'm not the only one who doesn't want to be outside this morning judging by the reticent pink smudge on the Manitoba horizon.  The CBC radio goofballs are yammering on about wind chill and what not.  They sound so happy, so warm. Slugging back the rest of my...

Bay Area Freezers by Mark Paterson

On a cold, grey November day in 1982, a week after my eleventh birthday, I stood at the top of our walk and watched my family's stretch-wrapped belongings get loaded into a big Bekins moving truck. We were leaving Montreal for northern California. I was sad and nervous. I was...

Take me Back by Brenda Brooks

I walked out on winter 14 years ago and never looked back. I wanted to run, but those late January Toronto streets were tricky and slick, so I bought a ticket at Union Station and let the train do the running for me. As we lurched and squealed out of the...

A True Winter Tale by Joanne Underwood

By the end of January, 1955, I'd lived in Bagotville, Quebec for nearly two months and so far all I knew of it was snow and cold.  My Air Force father had been transferred there from Trenton, Ontario and my brother and I were learning to adapt to our new...

By Stephanie Rideout (Marysvale, NL)

Lying under handmade quilts so heavy, I can't turn over against the weight. Snuggled in with my baby sister and the mattress so old we sink towards the middle in a heap.  My body is warm and toasty, but my nose is cold and red; I keep sniffling. Mom comes...

By Sheila Peters

December 23, 1980. I'm in the departure lounge at the Vancouver airport waiting for the flight to Smithers, 500 miles due north. I'm terrified. In my arms, wrapped in a mohair blanket, sleeps a five-pound, six-week old baby boy. Yesterday they finally let me take him out of the intensive...

By Catherine Lodge

Running frantically with coat, parcels, scarves flying in the wind, Jessie made it down to Union Station in a breathless state, just in time to catch the Ontario Northlander. Her train was scheduled to depart Toronto at 5:00pm. Rushing towards the platform she suddenly stopped, listening to the dreaded announcement....

Snow Piling Up by Erin Renwick

Winter, 1980: We are in Nelson BC, a town on a hill so steep and so constant that you can slip from top to bottom on sleds in winter.  It is snowing and when we look up into the lamplight we see big soft flakes floating heavily down and when...

By Shamima Khan

The snow was like sky sugar. When I stood out in it, arms outstretched, face upturned and staring into the immense whiteness, quietly letting snowflakes pour over my body, I promise you, I was receiving a blessing, a benediction. I stood there for a long time in that holy silence.There...

By Heather Lynn Carr

We skated to school in the winter.  We would don our skates at the front door, tie our shoes together and sling them over our shoulders, and carefully pick our way across the street hopping down along to the hard frozen surface of the channel.  Directly across the road from...