"Is the school closed, mommy? Did we get lots of snow?" My daughter bounded down the stairs this morning, still in her pyjamas, optimism and hope oozing from every pore. Winter in southern Ontario has been MIA this year. Environment Canada had issued a winter storm warning for overnight, and teachers, children and the school custodian were all praying for a snow day. The snow came, but not in sufficient quantity to merit closing the school. School was business as usual.
I grew up in Montreal, and snow days were a part of life in a city where 3 feet of snow could fall over night. I can still remember sitting at the kitchen table to listen for school closures when I was a kid. "Baldwin-Cartier school board" was all I had to hear and I was set for the day. School was closed-time to play outside with my friends.
I remember one winter, either 1972 or 1973, that had so many snow storms that the snowbanks were almost to the roof-line. We were snowed in for 3 days because they couldn't get the plows out. Snow was up to my waist (now granted I was 9-10 but anyway) and people were skiing to get provisions. Now THAT was a snow event. I was surprised when I moved to Kitchener and they closed the schools for a couple of inches of snow. We could still walk, what was the problem?
In Montreal, there were machines that came around to cut back the snowbanks so people could see. We had a little sapling in the front yard, and my mother was a gardener. The force of the snow broke a branch, and I remember her standing in the snowbank with electrical tape, reinforcing the branch before allowing my dad to take her to the hospital with her asthma.
Our school had winter carnival every year, and there was a snow sculpture contest by classroom. Our class beat the whole school one year when we did Snoopy on his dog house, complete with Woodstock. Kids here don't usually have enough snow to do that.
My kid went to school today under protest. She will come home with sopping wet snowpants, mitts and tales of sliding down the hill at recess. It's all good.