Surviving Winter in Victoria

The title of this post is going to crack up anyone that lives somewhere with a “real winter,” like Yellowknife or Winnipeg or, really, any other major city in Canada (and large swathes of the northern US).

But for me, having grown up in West Texas (where the high today is a balmy 18C) and then lived in Southern California for over a decade (today’s high: 15C), I had some concerns about being able to make it through the winter up here (currently 0C with the wind chill) 🥶

Would I ever go outside? Would I get worn down by dark, dreary days? Would I be forced to walk around inside the apartment with every article of clothing I had in my closet (like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man brought to you by LL Bean), just to stay warm enough to type?

I’m happy to report, then, that the answers turned out to be: Yes, No, and Not At All 😊

We’re halfway through February — a month so terrible they knew we could only stand twenty-eight days of it — and so far, with the exception of a couple of cold snaps (one the week of Christmas and the other checks forecast right now), winter’s been kind of great, actually. A little rainy, often cloudy, and yes, colder than I’m used to, but not bad. I still go out for my daily walks along the harbour, or down to Beacon Hill Park. I go out for my groceries and errand runs like always, though with one extra eye on the forecast to avoid the most blustery periods. And yes, I’ve got my heat set to 21C inside, but that’s, um, totally because the radiators are inefficient 😅

Granted, it helps that I arrived with some cold weather gear. Regular trips to the East Coast in November and December over the years had already pushed me to get a decent coat. And during a pre-move shopping trip I grabbed a wool tuque that has proved to be indispensable. Ditto my camping boots, which I originally got for trips to Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego, but turned out to be waterproof, and have been wonderful to have in the cold and rain.

And I’ve had to supplement since then. Blankets and a small room heater for indoors, when the outside temp drops to freezing or below. Along with a handful of flannels and a wool pullover, so I can layer up when needed. Finally, new gloves, because the thin things I brought up from California were not even close to cutting it.

Looking over that list, I guess the saying is true: No bad weather, just bad clothes. I’m lucky that I came with a lot of what I needed, and could buy the rest. And that I’m not anywhere much further north, where — for example — you have to both bundle up and beware of sweating, because your sweat can freeze!

All that said, I’m looking forward to spring next month. It’ll be nice to see things in bloom again 😀

Ron Toland @mindbat