Learning to embrace the cold

Even for hearty, tough, born and raised Canadians, winter can still throw us for a loop - especially that bone-chilling COLD.

This week DNTO is embracing the bone-chilling temperatures of winter. From looking fashionable while dressed head to toe in a snowsuit to surviving winter camping trips, there are lots of ways Canadians fall in love with the season. So wrap a scarf around your nose and settle into those longjohns to find out how we're taking on the cold, dark days of winter. 

The show kicks off with the story of a Malaysian woman who arrived in Canada for the first time when it was -30 degrees Celsius. Hear Sangeetha Nair's personal tale of cold and culture shock. 

Sean Burch in Mongolia. (Sean Burch)
​Sean Burch has a special passion for the extreme cold. He's broken seven world records for solo mountain climbing events and for running a marathon in snow shoes in the North Pole. He's just returned from breaking his latest record and it was his coldest expedition yet: climbing 23  Mongolian mountains at a time of year when it's so freezing even his sherpas were begging him to stay inside his tent.

Like a lot of Canadian kids, Jonah Quist was in cub scouts when he was young. His parents thought he ought to stop playing video games and get outside - and he tolerated the chilly camping trips... until one fateful year gave him a new respect for the cold. 

Sook-Yin (yes that's Sook-Yin) gets the latest from DNTO's snowsuit correspondent. (Rosie Fernandez)
In -31 degrees Celsius weather (with a wind chill), the show must go on. Sook-Yin Lee find out why kids get the coolest snow suits, and looks for tips to withstand extreme cold.

When Sue Montgomery was 12 years old in the '70s in Brampton, Ontario, she went on a class exchange trip to the Canadian Arctic with her dad as chaperone. They quickly learned to dress for the bitter cold of the tundra the way their Inuit host family did - in furs, caribou and seal skins. But when nature called, Sue peeled off her layers and caught quite a chill, until her father came to her rescue.

On the morning of February 3rd, 1947, weather officer-in-charge Gordon Toole bundled up and went out to check the thermometer at the weather station in Snag, Yukon. He did this every hour but this time was different. The temperature was -63 degrees Celsius - the coldest temperature ever recorded in North America.  

Shawn Stratton has mountain climbing in his blood. He's undertaken expeditions to some of the world's harshest environments, but his most memorable experience with the cold was on Mount Logan - the largest mountain in Canada. He shares his harrowing journey to the summit. 

When a huge blizzard hit Winnipeg a few weeks after Susan Thompson was elected mayor, she was the first one in the office. She'll tell us what happened when she answered the phone...

Calgary's John Bodman lived on the streets for 13 years. But on freezing cold day, he was inspired to make the biggest change of his life. Click here for information on homelessness in Calgary. 

Most of us don't like to be out in the cold. But for musician Christine Fellows, being in Canada's far North gets her creative juices flowing. Her latest project, Burning Daylight, is a multi-media cornucopia of poetry, music and collage. Find out how she drew inspiration from her experiences in Canada's North. 

Winnipeg's Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht (a.k.a. Dr. Popsicle) isn't afraid of a little cold. Actually, he's not afraid of a lot of cold. His experiments push the boundaries of the human body and Dr. Giesbrecht has become an internationally looked-to expert on hypothermia. His most common guinea pig? Himself.

Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht freezes Rick Mercer on the Rick Mercer Report.

Last winter, Joe Karetak and his son were out hunting seal. It was something they had done many times before - part of traditional life in their Inuit community of Arviat, Nunavut. But when he went to pick up a seal that his son had just taken down - Joe knew immediately that something was wrong.

This week's Playlist:
Christine Fellows in Igloolik, Nunavut 2013. (Alicia Smith)
​Hollerado - "Firefly"
Kandle - "Winter"
Arcade Fire - "Keep the Car Running"
Christie - "Yellow River"
Rural Alberta Advantage - "Coldest Days"
Andy Kim - "Shoot 'Em Up Baby"
She & Him - "Snow Queen"
Christine Fellows - "On Trail"
Matinee - "Call of the Wild"

Featured image by Emma Gawen via Flickr