So far, the winter of 2009-2010 has mercifully spared us some of its harsher blows. Of course, March - the cruelest month - has just begun, so we may get our comeuppance yet. (Ever the pessimist!)
Our relatively light snowfall - February was a record breaker with only 2 cm - has meant that Montreal's (in)famous snow-clearing crews have been mostly absent from our streets and sidewalks. This is a good thing. Recent winters were quite unkind. 2009 was an annus horribilis for them, as evidenced most brutally by the no less than 3 accidental deaths that occurred - on the same day - as a result of an unfortunate meeting between large snow removal equipment and pedestrians. See these news links for more:
Otherwise, playing a crucial support role in our annual plow n' haul ritual are these wee little sidewalk clearing bulldozers:
Don't be fooled by their size. They are terrifying. As that blur of movement suggests, these things whip down narrow walks with a reckless, take-no-prisoners abandon. Many of the drivers I've seen look about 18 and jacked up on RedBull, which explains the joy-ride aspect. If you left your precious bike locked to the front fence or lamp post, consider it mangled. As a child I had an inexplicable fear of trains. Even though we lived about half a mile away from the track, the sound of a distant train whistle would have me running for cover. This is my new train. In the peace and quiet of softly falling snow at night, there is nothing more terrifying than that unmistakable rev and rumble...
It's getting closer...
It's turning the corner...
It's heading straight for you...
It's in your house!!
Anybody remember this long-forgotten B-horror movie?:
Meanwhile, here's a little taste of how people in other, less snow-seasoned areas are coping with this year's blasts:
in Baltimore, Maryland
And finally, here's a nifty little site that is chock-a-block with pics and fun facts about winter in Montreal.
Land of Snow