Have you ever stopped to think about the landscapes in Canada? This country takes on many shapes and sizes and with these, various cultures and ways of life. I’ve traveled a bit through Canada, visiting Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia (I have obviously failed to visit the east coast – but soon, I promise!). Each place has dramatically different lifestyles, especially when the seasons change; creating their own unique lenses into Canadian life.
This recent adventure brought me to Alberta and British Columbia. First, to visit Pat’s dad in Calgary, then to spring ski in Fernie, British Columbia. We were anxious about this trip because we were working hard all winter, and quite frankly, needed the change of scenery. The province of B.C. has always attracted me since being there in 2017 for Shambhala Music Festival during the summertime.
Summer in British Columbia has a different feel to it – it’s sunnier, so people are happier, but it’s also unbelievably dry. So dry, that forest fires catch. Life for locals in B.C. is smokey and sometimes hazardous due to the air quality. Work for people is more prominent (you can find a lot of forestry and mining work in the summer), plus you can find many summer festival in the Kootenay region – perfect for the hardworking locals and tourists towards the end of the summer.
On the other hand, you have winter in B.C. Winter is special for this province because it also brings a lot of tourism – and summer-breakies from Australia who mostly work in the ski towns and on resorts. You’ll also find a lot of people who make a lot of money – tourists or locals enjoying their time skiing and relaxing. Travelling to ski towns for vacation definitely has it’s pros – beautiful scenery, fresh mountain air, and fun winter activities. However, there are some things that are hidden from tourists that represent everyday life in ski towns.
Apart from making a few runs during the day and enjoy apres ski time, both tourists and locals live different lives in this time of year in B.C. Winters can be harsh for locals, which brings on a lot of snow and cloudy days – perfect for snow sports, but what about everything else? Winter can be tough, and can actually cause a lot of depression, especially in small towns like Fernie. With nothing much else to do other than hit the slopes, a lot of people find it difficult to make it through B.C winter.
What was especially interesting about Fernie was visiting the local history museum. We learned a lot of its roots through coal mining and fishing. Work was hard for those in the mines here, causing generations of weariness caused by collapsing or exploding mines. On the bright side, I felt a sense of resiliency with these people after so many years of settlement and destruction. Fun fact: Fernie was a major supplier of alcohol during prohibition! This town is tough as nails.
With all of this in mind, you don’t have to travel far to experience a change of scenery, culture, or way of life. In the case of Canada, life exists so differently for so many of us on this huge chunk of rock we call Earth. So enjoy it, and all of Canada’s landscapes while you are here. You may learn a thing or two!