When Atlantic Canada wished winter 'would just go away'

There was no need to be polite about it: Old Man Winter was wearing out his welcome in Atlantic Canada in 2001.

Repeated snowstorms in N.L. and a wintry blast in the Maritimes left many wishing for winter's end

A dozen storms since Christmas

22 years ago
Duration 1:30
On Feb. 6, 2001, The National reports on the latest of a series of snowstorms to hit Newfoundland.

There was no need to be polite about it: Old Man Winter was wearing out his welcome in Atlantic Canada.

A winter storm had dropped a double-digit snowfall on New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and delivered a messy rain-and-snow mix in Nova Scotia in 2001.

Then the storm system made its way to Newfoundland and Labrador, which had already seen a lot of snow in the early winter.

It was clear by that point in the year, in fact, that the province was dealing with "its worst winter in more than half a century," as Peter Mansbridge told viewers on The National on Feb. 6, 2001.

'A dozen since Christmas'

This basketball court in St. John's was full of mounds of snow dumped there by road crews over the course of repeated snowstorms during the 2000-2001 winter. (The National/CBC Archives)

It was up to the CBC's Natalie Clancy to provide the latest round-up on what winter had thrown at Newfoundland and Labrador.

"The storm hit just as city workers were getting rid of the last batch of snow," she said, as viewers saw shots of a dump truck unloading its cargo of snow into the harbour. 

"Another blizzard wouldn't be so bad if it weren't on top of about a dozen since Christmas."

For the Newfoundlanders living through it, the snow was relentless.

'It's terrible'

Charlie James said he dreaded hearing about any further snow falling in St. John's. (The National/CBC Archives)

"Hardest winter I've seen in my lifetime," a man in a parka told The National. "It's terrible, terrible, terrible."

A line of heavy icicles could be seen along the eaves of a row of houses.

Charlie James, who was out using a snowblower, also expressed a desire to stop blowing snow at some point.

"Perish the thought," James said. "I dread to see it coming, there's nowhere to put it."

Unfortunately for James and other winter-weary Newfoundlanders, there was more snow expected later that week.

A tennis racket and a 'certain technique'

More winter for the Maritimes

22 years ago
Duration 1:52
On Feb. 6, 2001, The National's Laurie Graham gives viewers an overview of the winter mess in the Maritimes.

Over in the Maritimes, blowing snow had challenged pedestrians and drivers alike in New Brunswick.

Like the man who was trying to use a tennis racket to shovel the snow from around his Chevrolet Astro van.

"A certain technique? Yeah, you stop about every 15 scoops and take a break," the bemused New Brunswicker said.

This man was caught on camera trying to use a tennis racket to shovel the snow that had piled up around his Chevrolet Astro van. (The National/CBC Archives)

Similar scenes were playing out on Prince Edward Island, where the storm had dropped 15-plus centimetres of snow.

"Very few driveways are shovelled, so you're sluggin' over the banks and going ahead as well as you can, I guess," said a letter carrier, who was trudging through the mess to do his job.

A man shovelling snow into the back of a pickup truck in Charlottetown seemed to demonstrate the fact that Prince Edward Island was running out of places to put the snow that had piled up. (The National/CBC Archives)

As in New Brunswick and Newfoundland, it was becoming hard to figure out where to put the snow that had piled up on Prince Edward Island.

"The last few winters, we didn't have much and now we're paying for it, I guess," said one man, trying to provide some perspective on what it all meant. "We sure are getting our share."

'Tired and fed up' Maritimers

Some parts of New Brunswick saw 30 centimetres of snow fall during a February 2001 snow storm. (The National/CBC Archives)

Nova Scotia got a lot of rain, along with the snow that the storm had brought it.

"Many Maritimers are tired and fed up," the CBC's Laurie Graham said, as viewers saw footage of a woman resting her head on the handle of her snow shovel.

Graham said the region had reached a point where many people were "wishing winter would just go away."

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