Sep 28, 2009

It's Raining again in Vancouver


There’s a unifying factor in Canada from coast to coast to coast: The Weather. At least it’s something Canadian’s always love to talk about, complain about. Canadian weather is as different as it’s people but there is one comparable factor: it’s always active.

On the Atlantic coast it’s wild. I’ve crossed the Atlantic Ocean by boat. I know it well. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland gets some of the worst weather on the continent. Storms travel from west to east across Canada and storms move north, up the eastern United States, some of them hurricanes, and they meet over the Maritime provinces in an untamed mingling of forces. Quebec is very cold in winter. I lived in Montreal as a young boy and I remember the cold and the snow drifts higher than some houses. In Toronto it’s damp and wet: The spring is slush, the summer is humid hot, the autumn is perfect and the winter is raw.

The prairies are cold like Siberia. It’s an open flat land where the cold chill gusts down the wind and makes the place bleak, inhospitable and shivering to the bone. The British Columbian mountains are a winter wonderland for skiers but fought with the danger of avalanches and wild rivers. Vancouver weather is gentle. However, it does rain, and it rains, and it rains, and it rains.

Vancouver has the mildest and most moderate climate in Canada. The city was built on a rain forest and it very rarely gets the heavy storms the rest of the country does, yet, I hear people on street corners scream from the top of their lungs “I hate rain.” I honestly feel sorry for someone who is so angry about something they can’t do anything about, except move. These people are most probably from the prairies or central Canada where the weather is ... you know ... worse. These may also be people from Hong Kong and their reaction is strange because it rains more in Hong Kong than in Vancouver. However, the sun does shine more often over there.

I lived in Eastern Canada as a child where green forests abound with wet days and I grew up in England where it rains almost every day. The overwhelmingly moist green foliage and moss is in abundance everywhere in Britain. It’s like living in a salad. So moving to the desert was something quite different.

The San Fernando Valley in California is a desert and it hardly rains except for the odd season of torrential downpours. Culture shock was the first time I noticed the lack of rain, it didn’t rain for nine months. The Los Angeles weather forecaster Fritz Colman told us that he felt so lucky to have a job that's almost redundant, where on the odd day he does report a slight rain, it’s usually only a sprinkle where one swipe of the car wipers will clear the problem. The drives between Los Angeles and Las Vegas were particularly awesome for me. These were hot desert sands and scrub brush for as far as the eye could see. Hot, baked, parched and dry to the back of the throat. After living without rain for a few years I really missed it.

Vancouver is a paradise. A beautiful shining city sandwiched between the sea and the mountains, and the rain is fresh and mild bringing clean pure oxygen that cleanses the body inside and out. But some people just can’t see it. All they see are the dark clouds and water pouring in front of their eyes, getting their clothes and hair wet.

After experiencing a spectacular concert of the Vancouver Symphony at the Orpheum one evening, my partner and I were greeted by a steady downpour of rain sending concert goers dashing for the nearest cover. We decided not to take the ubiquitous taxi home but brave the elements and walk home across the Cambie Bridge. We were both dressed well but we were also sporting good rain coats and umbrellas. The umbrellas were good but as we crossed the bridge the wind sent the rain sideways rendering the umbrellas useless. We both zipped up our coats, dropped the umbrellas and opened our faces to the rain. The steady, cool water, drenched us, sending a calmed resignation of euphoria through out. It was no more wet that the morning shower and much more spectacular. I would highly recommend letting your head get wet in a downpour someday, it’s very exhilarating.

I am happy in the rain and I have invested in some wonderful colourful umbrellas. Happiness comes from within, meaning, there are ways to learn to love the rain. Face it, let it bathe you, breath it in. It’s great for your skin and your soul, and unless you move to the deserts it’s not going to go away.

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.
~Roger Miller

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
~Anthony J. D'Angelo

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness, has never danced in the rain.
~Author Unknown