Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Great White North.

American readers will know that the Northeastern United States was battered by a massive blizzard this weekend, lesving a lot of people (including many in my native region) shivering at home in the cold thanks to power outages and temporary bans on driving on treacherous roads. Toronto wasn't hit nearly as hard, but the 30+ centimeters of snow that we received on Friday and Saturday still made this the heaviest storm that we've received so far this winter. The GTA is now digging itself out of the storm, and I fully expect to get to church this morning without incident despite slushy, slippery streets.

To give you an idea of how things looked here on Friday, this is a view down my street in the midst of the storm.

Here is another view down the street, taken just after the preceding one. The solitary figure seen in the distance was an older man carrying a snow shovel; he eventually caught up with me as I continued to take pictures, and as he passed by he simply said, "Snow!" "Yes," I replied.

The University of Toronto kept its downtown campus open until mid-afternoon on Friday, meaning that many students (including me) still went to class. Here you see hardy U of T students trooping up St. George Street while drivers cautiously advance, with the snowflake-shrouded mass of Robarts Library looming in the background.

This is Queen's Park, just behind the Ontario Legislative Building and surrounded by the University of Toronto. Though this park sits in the middle of the city, I almost felt as though I had been dropped into a tranquil forest as I walked through on Friday afternoon, with hardly another soul in sight and an unusual silence due to the absence of traffic on the surrounding streets.

High on his pedestal in the center of Queen's Park, King Edward VII rides into the snow. This statue spent nearly fifty years in a park in Delhi before it was moved to Toronto in the late 1960s. I find it hard to imagine a greater contrast than the one between the subtropical Indian locale for which this statue was built and the snowy Canadian landscape where it now makes its home; as I regularly make my way past this statue on the way to and from class, I'm reminded that, in some ways, the sun still never sets on the British Empire.

Good wishes to those who now find themselves snowbound or otherwise confronted by the hardships of winter, and a respectful nod to those of you who live in places that never see snow. AMDG.


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