It all started with a tweet:
Cold front moving in.-32.Yes, @readbradthedad , I’m wearing my toque and mitts.
— James (DadsRT) (@JamesHudyma) January 28, 2013
The back story has to do with a recent post about my backyard: Winter Wonderland. Brad took on the role of my mom and was giving me grief about not dressing properly for the weather. Soon after, others joined in and so when a cold-front moved in here in Grande Prairie, Alberta, I made sure to let Brad know I was wearing proper winter gear.
Little did I know life in Northern Canada would be so intriguing to so many people. Soon I was responding to tweets from people all over the warmer parts of the world about living in a land of winter. Looking back I could have told some astronomical lies but the truth to these folks was much stranger than fiction.
Most fascinating of all was the fact that on cold winter days I have to plug in my car. To satisfy curiosity and provide some clarity, I took some pictures.
Canadian vehicles come equipped with electrical block heaters. The cord for the heater just hangs out of the front of the vehicle. On very cold days (-25 or colder) the fluids get very thick and the engine can freeze up . The block heater keeps things loose enough for the engine to start. Once the vehicle starts it takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to warm up enough for you to drive without doing any damage to the vehicle. Running a vehicle too cold isn’t good for it and it isn’t safe because the brakes don’t work as well.
All staff parking lots, hotel parking lots, and even some restaurants have places to plug in. I took a picture of the row of electrical posts in my staff parking lot (below). The bushes make them a little hard to see but if you look close you’ll see. Some lots have a sort of fence with an outlet for every parking stall. Yes, these are expensive to install. Yes, it is expensive for employers and businesses to provide electricity but if you can’t plug in, your vehicle won’t start.
I have a garage for my vehicles so I don’t have to plug in at home. For those without garages, there are outlets on the outside of homes and if you don’t have a driveway, you have to run a long extension cord out to your vehicle on the street.
So now you know.
I didn’t really think plugging in the car for winter was weird because it’s all I’ve ever known. Is there anything else you’re wondering about Northern Life?