Canadian summer memories

In Canada, we pride ourselves on our climatic toughness.

We like to trade stories of the worst winters and compare the endurance we have against those from other cities.

Did you know the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg is the windiest street corner in the world?

  • The Atlantic provinces get the tail end of hurricanes
  • Quebec gets ice storms
  • The Prairies get everything that blows their way
  • The Rockies get enough snow for everyone, sometimes in May
  • Even the B.C. coast can get horrible, dark winter days on end.

This general prevalence of less clement weather (dare I say winter?) makes us fiercely proud of what summer we do get; we make the most of every warm day that comes our way.

Canadian tradition says that summer starts unofficially when the May long weekend arrives. Of course, here in Okanagan paradise, we are often spoiled before this coming weekend, but it remains a national bugle call to start summer pursuits.

I have been reminiscing about past summers and what made them special. As a kid, I used to dread the Victoria Day weekend as that was when the garden work went into full force at our Calgary home.

My mom loved to have an outside space that offered some variety and colour. There was, of course, a veggie garden planted out back, where most people would have parked their second car or camper.

She also designed a rockery garden with flowers, and rocks – “harvested” from the countryside.

We dug and planted and for the first few years, moved rocks… all weekend.

We generally didn’t do anything that seemed like what one should be doing on the first so-called lazy weekend of summer, at least not if one was a young teenager.

I was always secretly hoping to get an essay assignment in school on what I did that weekend, so I could regale the class with a tale of woe and hard labour.

Funnily enough, as an adult, I have followed in my Mom’s footsteps, creating my own little garden paradise in the grounds at Rabbit Hollow. I now look forward to the first sure weekend of garden work.

If you aren’t a garden buff like me, then I imagine the smell of burgers or ribs on the barbecue might be the memory of Victoria Days past. Or perhaps it is the sound of the boat on the water, or the splashing of kids at the beach.

Maybe it is the feel of the wind in your hair as you ride with the top down for the first time.

Last night, when I heard a familiar silly tune warbling through the trees, I remembered that the first trip the ice cream truck made was usually this weekend.

The taste of ice cream eaten outside, off a stick, is certainly a taste of summer. That and drinking from the garden hose were things that went with skinned knees, grass stains and sunburn.

I wonder what kids today will have as memories when they grow older and want to look back.

We are hoping to get together in the yard with friends over the weekend who have children; perhaps we can make them drink out of the hose or plant veggies in the garden.

After all, isn’t that what growing up is all about?

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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