As global warming starts to heat up our planet, even Canadian winters seem to be gradually melting away. Already, a report by Statistics Canada has discovered that annual snow cover has shrunk by 5.1% since 1972.
That melting speeds up even faster during an El Nino year, when warmer temperatures blow in from the Pacific. During the 2010 El Nino, snowfall in Canada was at the second lowest level it had ever been. And, during the monster 1998 El Nino, snowfall across the country reached an all-time low.
This year, as another huge El Nino sweeps in, students might experience Canada’s warmest winter yet. Here’s a snapshot of winter 2015 so far, and what it means for students in Canada.
Ottawa: Some Summer Businesses Stay Open Longer for ESL Students
In some parts of Canada, unusually warm weather has been a blessing for certain industries and enthusiasts. In Ottawa, for example, some summer businesses have stayed open longer. Golf courses in the capital city, for example, were even open on Christmas Eve as temperatures climbed up to 17 C – double the previous record high.
For students at ESL school, it was a chance to enjoy a bit more warm weather before winter took hold. Not bad for one of the coldest capital cities on the planet!
Southern Ontario: Students at ESL School Enjoy Record-Breaking Warm Temperatures
It wasn’t just students in Ottawa who saw record-breaking temperatures. Students who study English in Canada at CultureWork’s London and Oshawa campuses have seen a few historic records set too.
In London, temperatures on December 23rd climbed up to their highest level since 1893. And, in Oshawa, Durham, and many other Canadian cities, winter 2015 brought a green Christmas to many.
North West Territories: Ice Roads Could Open Late
Up in Canada’s northern cities, freezing temperatures are expected and often necessary for essential transportation. That’s because when lakes freeze over, trucks can drive over them to remote villages, mines, and cities to bring much-needed supplies. These roads used exclusively for a few months in winter are an important part of these local economies.
Canada’s biggest winter road, the Tibbitt-to-Contwoyto Winter Road, usually opens during the last week of January when temperatures are cold enough. But, with temperatures so high, this year’s road might need to be opened later – making it harder for supplies to be driven up to communities.
Enjoying Canada’s Winter Wonderland
Without the extreme cold weather, it’s easier to get out and enjoy the many cultural activities unique to Canada’s winters. Students may choose to go ice skating or snowshoeing, play the national sports of hockey or curling, or experience the thrills of downhill or cross-country skiing – warmed up afterwards by a delicious cup of hot chocolate, of course! Winter is also an opportunity to participate in some of Canada’s many seasonal snowy festivals such as Ottawa’s Winterlude, featuring ice sculptures by international artists, a diverse array of concerts and skating on the Rideau Canal – the world’s largest ice rink.
Do you want to experience a world-famous Canadian winter?
Discover how enrolling in CultureWorks’ ESL program in Canada can help you learn English while experiencing a memorable climate and culture!