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Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Winters – How the Old Tall Tales Became Reality


Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Winters - How the Old Tall Tales Became Reality

I was born and still live in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  Most people in Cape Breton are part of rural small Scottish communities rich in Gaelic culture, story-telling, tall tales and ghost stories have always been a basic element of our every day life.

A tale we would hear when I was a child was “I remember there was so much more snow than nowadays. I recall walking to school and the snow piles were so high that your grandparents would tell us, Be careful not to touch the wires on the power poles because you could get electrocuted.”

Well to be honest this wasn’t something only my Mom said, rather many of us children would hear this type of story from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and more. Countless evenings I would sit in the kitchen getting as close as possible to the red hot wood stove burning hardwood or coal and I would hear this saying replayed a thousand times by different relatives.

Each time I heard one of my relatives tell this story about how high the snow was there was always a little more snow then the last  telling of the tale.  They often talked about the dangerous trek to school. Yes, the dangerous long trek to school because prior to my generation it appears school was never cancelled, regardless of the weather and dangers it imposed.

Honestly,  I started to become skeptical about the tales my relatives told after the age of 8 – that was until this winter. After the weather we received in December 2013 and much of January 2014 I am now a true believer.  Typically we see temperatures 0 to -6 degrees Celsius on the Island during that time period but we weren’t so lucky this year.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Winters - How the Old Tall Tales Became RealityCape Breton, Nova Scotia Winters - How the Old Tall Tales Became Reality

Battered with storm after storm, strong winds and temperatures dropping at times to -30 Celsius with the wind chill factor, I believe the elders in my family would say, “oh it’s just an old fashion Cape Breton winter, I guess you young ones believe us now!”

There was another old saying we often heard when I was young .  I can see myself sitting around the hot stove and hearing my relatives say, “the proof is in the pudding,” or in our case  this winter season, in the height of the snow drifts.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Winters - How the Old Tall Tales Became Reality Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Winters - How the Old Tall Tales Became Reality

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  1. Tough cookie mommy says

    Here we are complaining about the snow we just got here in New York City! It looks like you guys had some wicked winters there.

  2. Amanda Ripsam says

    I was born in Toronto Ontario Canada and I have always wanted to go to Nova Scotia.

  3. Jen says

    Er, can you go skiing or am I just being a bit shallow and looking on the plus side? 🙂

  4. Aisha Kristine Chong says

    Since we don’t have snow to our country it sometimes so hard to think its scary and troublesome it is – I guess maybe because I never really felt and thought about its ups and downs..

  5. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    Oy, I hate the snow. We don’t get quite as much as you do up there, but we get our fair share and I am already done for the year. I hope spring comes in quick.

  6. Terry says

    Like you, I remember a lot more snow in the winter. We used to have huge piles that you couldn’t see over or around.
    I can see why they told you not to touch the wires, the snow was so high that you probably walked very close to them.
    Kind of scary when you think about it.

  7. Rosey says

    Considering our weather this year, I could get some of these tall tales started over here in our neck of the woods!! 🙂

  8. Cyndie Norell says

    Living in the South, I never see any snow. We have a chance of flurries this coming week that would shut the whole state down.

  9. DD says

    Looks like our winters here!

  10. Melanie Burbage says

    So much snow! ha I love the snow , we live in Northern CA but I grew up in NY. We got a lot of snow when I was a kid. I kinda miss it , yes I’m not joking

  11. Pamela says

    Woah, couldn’t handle that much snow!

  12. vinma says

    Never been to Nova Scotia, and I am yours truly fellow Canadian, hailing from Toronto, Ontario 🙂 This year, winter has hit us hard in the form of Snow and Ice Storm and so far, there is no relief in sight. I totally hear you! here’s is to a beautiful summer! 🙂

  13. Isabella Grey says

    Holy crap…that is some serious snow. And I thought our 4 feet in Kansas was a lot!

  14. Lawna Young says

    I honestly haven’t been to the snow in a long long time. It does not snow where I live, but it does snow about fifty minutes out of town. I seriously need to take my children next year.

  15. Lady Lilith says

    Oh snow can be a little overwhelming. I have been following some of the storms on the news and they look pretty bad.

  16. Melanie Roberts says

    WOW.. you sure got some snow… Something we will never see in Florida.. would love a little.. BUT.. not that much.. stay warm..

  17. Chubskulit Rose says

    My husband would often tell our kids that they are so lucky that school closes when the weather is bad because when he was a kid, the school never closes.

    We are having some awful winter here too. Be safe out there.

  18. MK says

    It looks gorgeous there but it would be way too cold for me to bear!

  19. Janelle says

    I’ve always wondered what it would be like to open my front door and have an avalanche of snow come barreling in.

  20. BusyBee says

    Holy cow! We in SoCal DO get snow but never this much

  21. Nikki says

    I have visited and it is breathtaking but that snow is just too much for me too visit in the winter…

  22. Jody says

    That is a lot of snow… and I bet snow removal is not great!

  23. Marielle Altenor says

    Parents are good at telling stories that sounds too far fetch to believe, that is until they actually come true. I live in Montreal QC and this winter is by far the coldest we’ve had in years. I can’t imagine getting as much snow as you did in Nova Scotia.

  24. Le-an Lai Angeles Lacaba says

    I’ve never experienced snow since we live in a tropical country. But ever since the start of 2014, our temperature has been dropping too. I couldn’t imagine living in such coldness.

  25. Erin says

    Wow, that is incredible!

  26. Nikki says

    Wow you got a lot of snow! I live in the Poconos, in Pennsylvania. When I was little, we got snow like that. Now, we just get a ton of little storms. Enough to make it so bad I can’t leave the house, but nothing like when I was little. I want my son to experience one blizzard in his life. LOL. Is that crazy? As an adult, the snow can stay away, but as a kid, it was magical to me. So I want that for him.

  27. Alison says

    Wow that is a crazy amount of snow!!!

  28. Amanda Love says

    Wow! That’s a lot of snow you guys have. My kids would love it though, I’m not a big fan of winter. Give me spring and fall anytime.

  29. jocelyn says

    I’d kill for a little bit of snow – we never get any!

  30. Tess says

    Not fun! I think we might be catching up this year. In 1979 I think it was, we had a bad snow that covered our doors too!

  31. Ronnie says

    Eek I feel so cold on your behalf when I see pictures like this.. we had a cold front come in from Russia for a few days. Jerusalem was under snow but we were just cold higher north where I am. No, let me correct that, we were cold in comparison to regular weather.. I was freezing!!! I wouldn’t be able to handle this Nova Scotia winter…

  32. DD says

    When is Spring again?

  33. Linda says

    I grew up in Cape Breton in a 2 story farm house and I can remember my younger brother climbing out the upstairs bathroom window on to the roof of the porch to shovel down to get the back door open. Winters are nothing like they use to be….we have become spoiled.

  34. teresa mccluskey says

    I use to live in Indiana and now i am in Texas so many changes. I miss the snow but not this part!

  35. Onica {MommyFactor} says

    We’d had a lot of snow also. What a way to prove those old tale true huh? Hope your staying warm

  36. DD says

    Is it Spring yet?

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