During September last year, after traveling around the world for 18 months, we made an unusual decision—We thought it would be a good idea to spend winter in Canada. For those of you following our journey, you will know that our travels have involved following the sun. Every destination we have been to since we left Australia in March 2012 has been based on visiting when it is warm. We are sun worshippers at heart. It explains why we lived in Brisbane, Australia for 10 years before we began our nomadic life.
Maybe we had spent too much time in the sun, but we decided that it was a good idea to visit Canada for winter. You know, the time of year that Canadians flock to other parts of the world because it is too cold! Not surprisingly, it was quite easy to find house sits in Canada at that time of year. There were plenty on offer and we accepted 3 different sits—one on Vancouver Island and two near Toronto.
After a ‘relatively’ warm stay in Vancouver (average maximum temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit/9 degrees Celsius), we flew into Toronto and were greeted with 0 degrees Fahrenheit/-20 degrees Celsius. Take off several more degrees for windchill and, yes, it was cold. Colder than anything we had encountered before in our lives!
The good news is that the house we stayed in was very nice. This was very important as we were going to spend a fair bit of time inside. Nicole’s exact words were “We are going into hibernation.” Nicole loved the big king-size bed in the master bedroom, while I enjoyed the “man cave” basement. The house had a pool out the back (somewhere under the snow!) and was next door to a large park.
Even better than all that though were the two dogs we looked after; they were adorable. Dash was a 9-year-old Labradoodle, and Daisie was an 18-month-old Maltese. These wonderful and well-behaved dogs, with their lovely personalities, stole our hearts. They adapted to us quickly and became my shadows. They wouldn’t leave my side. If I went upstairs, they quickly followed. If I went outside, they would wait by the door until I came back.
One thing I loved was watching Dash and Daisie playing tug of war with a rope. With Dash weighing in at around 80 pounds and Daisie at about 10 pounds, it wasn’t a fair fight, but it certainly wasn’t due to lack of heart by Daisie! And like a good big brother, Dash would let her think she was in with a chance.
They were great dogs, and I couldn’t believe how much they loved running around in the snow! When it was time to go outside for a toilet break, they used to dance around the door waiting for me to open it so they could bolt into the yard. Seeing Daisie trying to bound through foot-deep snow was hilarious. She loved it!
While we tried to keep going outside to a minimum, with any house sit there were chores to be done. And this house sit had a chore we had never done before: Shoveling snow! In the 3 weeks we were there, I was “lucky” enough to shovel snow on no less than 7 occasions. On one occasion, a snowstorm had left a foot of snow over the driveway. While I wouldn’t exactly call it fun, it wasn’t too bad as I needed some exercise after being cooped up inside all day. I have no doubt if I lived in Canada on a long-term basis I would be that guy who paid his neighbor’s kid $10 to shovel the driveway!
I also got to build my first snowman. As you can see from the picture, it was a fairly feeble effort, but I did get to cross it off my life-long bucket list!
While it was cold, we did enjoy our time house sitting in Canada. It’s something we never would have experienced if it wasn’t for the travel/house sitting lifestyle we chose. We got to experience something that we will remember for ever. But make no mistake, we are definitely looking forward to our next stop—Hawaii!
Have you been to Canada in the Winter?