A tale of two winters in Alberta and N.L. in 2001

In 2001, Alberta had been dealing with a wild winter, as had Newfoundland and Labrador. But they weren't having the same kinds of winter weather as one another.

A lot less snow than usual in the West that year, but far more of it in the East

Very different winters in Alberta and N.L.

22 years ago
Duration 3:27
On Feb. 1, 2001, Paul Hunter reports for The National on the very different kind of winter that Alberta had seen, as compared to what people in Newfoundland and Labrador were dealing with.

In 2001, Alberta had been dealing with a wild winter, as had Newfoundland and Labrador.

But Albertans had far less snow than usual, while those out on the Rock were facing unrelenting snowfalls, week after week.

The National's Paul Hunter took a look at the strange contrast between the two provinces on Feb. 1, 2001.

"It's been mild pretty much all winter, not only in Calgary, but Edmonton, too, where they just had the warmest, driest January on record," Hunter told viewers, as pictures of Albertans jogging and riding bikes were shown on TV.

Some snow in Alberta...

Paul Hunter explained that despite the balmy temperatures seen in Calgary during the early part of 2001, the city was still seeing snow pile up — just not as much as in a typical winter. (The National/CBC Archives)

To drive home the strangeness of it all, Hunter stood outside in Calgary with a volleyball in his hands, setting up a joke about what the warm weather meant for the people living there.

"It's been the kind of winter in Calgary that you could almost get away with playing — nah, not really," he said, as the camera tilted down from a sign for a beach volleyball sign and around to reveal there was actually some patchy snow on the ground.

"Because it's not like there's no snow at all here, it's just that there's not nearly as much as people are used to," Hunter said.

That meant a ski hill near Calgary was having to supplement what was on the ground with some artificial snow.

...but nothing like what Newfoundland had

As of the start of February 2001, St. John's had seen nearly four metres of snow fall on city streets during what was proving to be a long and punishing winter. (The National/CBC Archives)

Snow was not in short supply in Newfoundland, which Hunter said had seen more snow fall "than there has ever been there before by now."

The snowfall total was then nearing the four-metre mark, and February had barely begun.

So much snow had piled up, in fact, that Hunter said "if you took all the snow in St. John's and put it in a pile, there would be more than 200 million tonnes of it."

Hunter said "the good news" for St. John's was that spring would arrive eventually — not that the snow was about to stop falling in the short term, nor was the reporting on the snow that was falling.

At the end of 2001, Environment Canada would state in a year-end publication that more than 500 million tonnes of snow fell on the city over a period stretching from November 2000 into May 2001.

And the City of St. John's would end up spending more than $3 million more than it had budgeted for snow clearance and removal, according to its annual report.

The people living in St. John's had to live with the consequences of repeated snowstorms during the 2000-2001 winter. (The National/CBC Archives)

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