Wild Canadian Weather — Wind

The invisible element that shapes our lives; falcons, butterflies and spiders hitch a ride, while Canadians harness, and harvest, the wind
Available on CBC Gem

Wild Canadian Weather — Wind

Nature of Things

From the filmmakers who brought you WILD CANADA and THE WILD CANADIAN YEAR comes WILD CANADIAN WEATHER, an exciting new series that continues the exploration of Canada’s fascinating wildlife, amazing landscapes and extraordinary people — this time, through the lens of Canada’s intense and dramatic weather.

Wind is the most dynamic of all weather elements. It is a driving force of Canada’s weather: forming clouds and sculpting the ocean. WILD CANADIAN WEATHER: WIND reveals just how much it shapes the lives of Canadians with never-before-seen behaviour, intimate moments and adrenaline-filled action.

We watch the fastest creature on Earth, the peregrine falcon, ride the winds between Toronto’s skyscrapers. Living in Canada’s cities, these masters of flight now contend with the unpredictable winds that modern high-rises create as air funnels through streets and avenues. We follow the drama and suspense as a young peregrine family leaves the nest and takes to the air for the first time.

Wind also encourages play among Canadians. Daredevil kite surfers use it to catapult themselves into mega-loops almost 30 metres into the air, while Canada’s first-ever professional female surfer, Cath Bruhwiler, picks the best waves by watching for patterns in the wind. For Cath, the waves are home: “I like being part of Nature, and part of the wind and part of the ocean. Without the wind we wouldn’t have waves, so I love the wind. It does make you feel alive.” But she’s not alone. Sea lions also play and tumble through the Pacific’s great rollers.

Without the wind we wouldn’t have waves, so I love the wind. Cath Bruhwiler

Miniature dramas unfold as we explore how wind has an unexpected influence on the lives of Canada’s smaller animals. For a tiny spider, even the gentlest breeze can create complications, while an opossum uses the scent carried on the wind to help him find a meal.

On Prince Edward Island, traditional seaweed harvesters use heavy horses to gather the bounty of the sea, blown onto the beach after a big storm. Behind them rise majestic wind turbines — islanders are among the world leaders in using wind energy, which provides forty per cent of their electricity.

Nature has learnt to ride the wind: from plants that use the wind to disperse their seeds, to monarch butterflies and songbirds who use global winds to help them traverse a continent. But there are places in Canada with too much wind. The people of Grand Étang in Cape Breton, N.S., have learned to head inside when the “Suete” is on its way — a wind that regularly tops 200km per hour, making normal daily life impossible.

On the prairies, we follow wind addicts, the Prairie Storm Chasers, who have made it their mission to spot and report tornadoes. They’re on the ground so that Environment Canada can issue tornado warnings, giving prairie residents a chance to prepare.

WILD CANADIAN WEATHER is an intimate and dramatic exploration of life in one of the most intense and challenging weather-influenced countries on the planet. Each episode reveals the drama and natural history of weather events and their impacts on people and wildlife. WILD CANADIAN WEATHER will give Canadians even more reasons to talk about the weather!