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Why is Canada passionate about weather?

Severe weather can help to bind people together
Severe weather can help to bind people together

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

Weather changes all the time and the impacts are anything but boring. It can strike a nerve among Canadians creating a passion and obsession to learn more about it.

Canadians often celebrate beautiful weather together
Canadians often celebrate beautiful weather together

There is no doubt that weather impacts us all. “It [weather] is the number one topic of conversation by Canadians. It isn't something we can leave home without, we need it,” says David Phillips, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada.

“There are only three networks in the world dedicated to weather and two of them are in Canada so it seems to touch a nerve among Canadians...People love to think that we are the weather champions of the world.” Phillips adds that there is a friendliness to weather and that you don't necessarily have to have a PhD to understand it.

“My infatuation for the weather goes back to when I was only eight years old and set up a pretty simple REMCO brand weather station during my grade 3 year,” says Bryn Jones, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network.

“I think it connects us to each other...We can celebrate the beautiful weather together and commiserate when it spells trouble.” Jones says that the weather can be trying for much of the year in Canada, “and when we do get pounded we are all in it together and that binds us; even to strangers.”

Edmund Fitzgerald sank in 1975 after a large system swept over the Great Lakes
Edmund Fitzgerald sank in 1975 after a large system swept over the Great Lakes

For others, it's the facts and figures of weather that can be so intriguing.

“There have been many times when weather events and climate episodes have changed the course of history. The lull in the storms either side of the Normandy invasions of World War II; the abandonment of the Viking settlements in Greenland and Newfoundland as the Little Ice Age developed; the Irish Potato Famine of the late 1840's and the resultant mass emigrations and many other weather related events have helped alter how the wave of history might have turned out otherwise,” says Jones.

Weather calamities of the past have affected how we live today and that's what prompted David Phillips to create the Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar. The annual calendar started 23 years ago and it features everything from weather facts and trivia to stories and important information.

“I'm a trivia buff and I love little factoids about the weather. For example, I read an article about the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill, and it said that under that furry hat, the temperature is 12 degrees warmer, what a neat little fact.”

Phillips adds that facts and trivia about weather can be serious and a way to help save lives, but it can also be used to break the ice or simply bring a smile to someone's face.

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