Brass Monkeys!

I woke up this morning to our first extreme weather warning issued by Environment Canada.   My phone told me it was -18, the dude reporting the weather on TV told me with wind chill it was, in fact, colder.   It was my first real Brass Monkey’s Day.

Damn, if only the extremely cold day could have fallen last weekend when I was housebound!

The-8-year-old has recovered and is back at school so I had to drag my sorry ass out of bed and prepare for the walk to school.

First up was a hot shower to get me going.  A good indication that it’s really, really, really cold outside is when you turn on the tap and the water is ice cold and you live in a high-rise apartment.  That water has a long route to travel through the bowels of the building and getting itself up to the 24th floor and it was still freezing cold.

Every day I wash or wet my hair in the shower so I can get rid of my bedhead and not scare small children but not today.   I haven’t owned a blow dryer for years and I usually just let it dry naturally but today I not only feared wet hair would contribute to getting a cold I also thought I risked my wet hair freezing, forming icicles and snapping off.   With all my hair disasters of late, it was one I could do without.

It was going to be a day of layering so on went the thermals and instantly I transformed into a Kransky sausage in casing.

Just like a Sara Lee Apple Danish from the 80’s, I applied Layer,  Upon Layer, Upon Layer.  I had 3 layers on my legs, my thermals, a pair of socks I bought by mistake that go way above my knees and look like Pippi Longstocking and a pair of pants.

socks
On the left my regular size socks on the right a pair of socks that I purchased without reading the packet.  As I’m 5ft nothing I was going to donate them in our next charity bag.  Not anymore, they have gone  from being the worst purchase ever into the BEST!

 

I encouraged The-8-year-old to do the same but it is never without argument.  He is 8, stubborn and know’s everything  (I wonder who he gets that from).   Prepared we exited the building and my breath was taken away with just how cold it was so I began to breathe through my nose so my lungs didn’t hurt and wrapped my scarf around my mouth.   It was friggin cold but encased in my sausage skin I was ok.  With my coat designed for temperatures as low as -40 this Kransky was starting to cook.  The only thing that was cold?   My eyeballs.   I wonder if it is possible to get eyeball frostbite?!? (Something for Dr Google).

My latest purchase to ensure I look like a freak but remain toasty warm?

My new gimp mask.

gimp mask

We are a family of gimps!  The Canadian and 8-year-old have them as well.

Laugh all you want but my cheeks are no longer like ice blocks.

And so I survived!  It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it was going to be and as I have mentioned before, the key is having the correct clothing even if it means you look like you have escaped the crazy asylum.

Apart from the correct clothing, the other key to surviving winter in Toronto is pretty easy …. Just avoid going outside as much as possible.

With only 1 car in our family and as The Canadian leaves for work at an ungodly hour I am forced to walk to and from school for drop off and pick up.  I can however,  get everything else I need to get done in my day without seeing the light of day if I choose,  by going into the thermostatically controlled underground city that exists in Toronto known as the PATH.

The PATH is a network of tunnels under the office towers and apartments in the Downtown area of Toronto and it has retail shops, dentists, doctors, dry cleaners, hairdressers, gyms, restaurants and food courts.  It also connects to major shopping centres and train stations.

It is more than 30 Km’s long and according to the Guinness Book of records is the largest underground shopping complex in the world.  It is possible to walk from one side of the city to the other completely underground.

 

path system
Map of the Toronto PATH system

 

The best bit?  It is air-conditioned in Summer and Heated in Winter.

The worst bit? It is very easy to get lost in the PATH system as I have indeed done.   It is possible to download an app for the PATH system but I won’t link it because I found it to be pretty much useless.  If you get lost in the PATH the best thing to do is head back upstairs to street level and get your bearings and then when you go back down you will hopefully have your sense of direction back (in theory).

The network is always expanding as new buildings go up on the edges of the existing path system.  As the city development grows so does the PATH underground network.

With the extreme cold I had a craving for a warm bowl of soup for lunch but with an empty fridge,  I would need to battle the elements.  Not a problem!  Lucky for me we have an entrance to the PATH system across the road from our apartment.  I can access it by entering the foyer of an office block and then going down the escalator and into the PATH.

I bundled up in my layers to cross the road and headed down into the PATH to my favorite soup place, The Soup Nutsy

The PATH system has a few outlets of The Soup Nutsy (Yes, they are a knock-off from The Soup Nazi in Seinfeld).   It takes me longer to put on my layers and get ready to go outside than it does to walk over to the PATH system, get my soup and return home.

Today I went for one of the Daily Featured Soups, a Sherried Lobster Bisque.  It comes with 2 sides so you can select from various types of bread, fruits or carrot and celery sticks.

 

soup
I could eat soup every day in winter but sadly the 8-year-old and The Canadian don’t share my love of soup.

 

 

In Toronto, unlike in Australia, the major supermarkets have been slow to get on board with online home delivery services.  One of them, Longo’s has just started offering the service but I find the range limited.

As this was becoming my main method of shopping prior to leaving Australia it does kind of erk me a little.  The larger supermarket chains  do offer online shopping and collecting it yourself (what’s the point) and grocery delivery services are available for organic fruit and Veg or meat.   Limited grocery services are also available.

Meal delivery is huge!   Back in Brisbane, I found we had slim pickings for takeaway options, this is not so in Toronto and most restaurants deliver.   Toronto also has multiple food delivery services and in this weather, I would prefer it delivered than sending The Canadian out to pick it up because when it’s delivered it is in the hot boxes so more chances of it staying warm.  Thai food walked home in -18 just doesn’t stand the same chance.

I am surprised at the amount of people that have meals delivered and especially during the day, almost every time I get in the lift in our apartment I end up sharing it with someone either dropping off takeaway food or having dropped off a delivery.   Downtown most of the food delivery services happen via bicycle.

With temperatures expected to climb even lower tomorrow and over the weekend,  I look forward to spending time under my gimp mask!

Does anyone else own a gimp mask?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Brass Monkeys!

  1. dirtgirl

    I am loving your tales of life in Toronto. We bumped into a Canadian retired couple in the Botanic Gardens here in Sydney last week, they said they travel the world for 5 months to avoid the cold winters in Canada. After reading your latest tale I can see why! I emigrated to Australia from UK 45 yrs ago to avoid the cold, I am a total woose now if temps get below 20C. That gimp mask is wonderful.
    I thought our underground pathways here were good until I saw your map above, awesome, until you get lost of course.
    Sending warm wishes from downunder and yes I’m with you I too could eat soup every day of the year.

    1. Hi Dirtgirl, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. The PATH system reminds me of being able to walk from Sydney Town Hall, through the QVB into Myer and Westfield. I was really surprised when I first went into it and it just kept going and going. We are going ice skating this weekend at an outdoor rink and the temp is exptected to be -28, eek! The gimp mask will come in handy!

  2. Where did you get those masks from? I need one! And those socks just look wonderful to me! I used to be scared of my hair snapping too! But it doesn’t, only the ice that forms on the hair (rather than it being in the hair) snaps.

    1. Holly, we got them at MEC, they look dreadful but are awesome! The beanie (I refuse to use the word Toque) and balaclava section were the busiest parts of the store yesterday. We plan on skating the Rideau Canal this weekend and with temperatures expected to be more hideous than Toronto, they should come in handy.

  3. I’m glad we live in Vancouver, where the temperature generally stays above zero, and dressing for the outside is much simpler.
    My husband was talking to someone on a ski lift at Whistler, who was from Toronto, and he asked if it was weird to ski in a place that is warmer than home.

    1. I think I must be starting to acclimatise a little bit because anything until about -5 feels ok and I don’t even notice it. When the temperature starts heading further south, I notice it and the weekend of extreme cold was just plain wrong. Lucky for us it has been mild for most of the winter. One of the nice things about the extremely cold days is the blue sky that results.

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