We are less than two weeks away from the official arrival of spring, but does anyone on the prairies expect that it will really happen? It has now been officially proclaimed as the worst winter in 35 years.
In Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon, hundreds of people have been forced to go without water, the most basic service we have a right to expect when we live in a modern city. It seems the frost has penetrated so deep this winter that they’re seriously thinking of renaming this entire region Tundra. Every second person you meet says “so much for global warming.”
If we go back 35 years, that puts us in the winter of 1978-79. I was in the middle of my first Regina life, and I remember it well. It was bitterly cold for weeks on end. Downtown stores would go days without seeing a customer because no one wanted to be outside. On the radio, we were encouraging folks to go into stores just to get warm.
There was also a ton of snow, and we got a fabulous quote from a Regina Alderman about why they didn’t spend more to clear it away faster. He said “because before you know it, it will be June and we’ll have nothing to show for all those dollars.”
I don’t remember stories about large numbers of homeowners having frozen water pipes. There must have been some, but no one seems to have made a fuss about it.
What else do I remember about the winter of 78-79 ? We didn’t have the internet or cell phones. Regina was the last place on earth to get cable TV.
They were still skiing in early April in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and neither the Roughriders or the Blue Bombers made the playoffs in 1979.
But spring did eventually come. It always does.
I’m Roger Currie