Calgary

Bundle up, Alberta: Long John Index warns it's time to thermal up

Meet the man behind the Long John Index, a website that lets Canadians know when it’s time to break out their thermal underwear.

Index lets you know whether or not you need to wear thermal underwear

Bundle up, Alberta — on Wednesday, the entire province hit four out of five on the Long John Index. (Mike Groll/Associated Press)

The last couple of Canadian winters have been pretty mild — and that has meant things have been pretty boring for Colin MacIntyre.

He's the man behind the Long John Index, a website that lets Canucks know when it's time to break out their thermal underwear. 

It rates cities and towns on a scale of one to five — with one being toasty and five being frigid, but there's nothing scientific about MacIntyre's methods.

"So as the temperature drops, the Long John Index goes up. And the higher the Long John Index number, the smaller amount of time you should be outside without long johns," MacIntyre told the Calgary Eyeopener.
'The higher the Long John Index number, the smaller amount of time you should be outside without long johns,” says MacIntyre. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)

Bundle up, Alberta

On Wednesday, Alberta reached four on the index.

At that point, MacIntyre says, there's "no messing around."

"You should absolutely have your Long Johns on if you are spending any sort of time outside for any length of time," is his advice.

Since Dec. 1, the Edmonton-based man has been sharing his humorous observations of the overall weather in each Canadian province on a map on his website.

"Did I plug in my car? Hope so," he mused about Alberta.

(www.longjohnindex.ca)

MacIntyre figures it won't be long before Alberta hits five on the Long John Index.

"That's minus 30 or colder and at that point — don't even go outside. Just keep your long johns on and go hide underneath some blankets and wait it out."

Cold weather glossary

The Long John Index also boasts its own glossary for some weather patterns that are so very Canadian.

MacIntyre says "The Polar Bear Alert" is another way of saying that there's a snowfall warning.

"What they [polar bears] do is they wait for the cover of snow to creep out of their little hidey holes. And they're not going to attack people, but if you're walking around with coffee or donuts or muffins they'll take them."

And then, there's "The Acceptable Workplace Toque Hair Limit." 

"I'm sure people need to look professional at their jobs and they have to have their hair done all nice but at a certain temperature, it doesn't matter anymore … your hair is a mess, you're fine," MacIntyre said.

According to the index, "The Acceptable Workplace Toque Hair Limit" is protected by law, set by the provinces and territories, and is as follows:

  • Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut: –25 C
  • Western Ontario: –17.5 C 
  • Southern Ontario: –8 C
  • Quebec: –20 C
  • Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, Nfld. and Labrador: –12 C
  • British Columbia: 2 C

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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