Why I live here: Answering the Trevor Noah questions

Nailed it! Traffic mess, great show.

The city of Ottawa received more snow in January than in any other January ever before. And most of that white stuff fell in the days just before Trevor Noah arrived.

The narrow streets that surround the stadium where he performed barely accommodate two cars in sunny summer weather. With snowbanks? One car, and it had better be small.

Unprecedented snow + rush hour traffic + Trevor Noah = Mayhem.

The bus we were taking to the stadium stopped dead in the gridlock. We hopped off and walked on the snowy, icy sidewalks for more than a mile to get there on time. We bustled along with people in the same situation. We acknowledged each other with:

“Trevor Noah?”

“Yep.”

People who didn’t have tickets to the event saw the mess and wondered about it. “What’s going on?” they asked.

“Trevor Noah,” was the answer.

The words Trevor Noah are likely to raise the blood pressure of many Ottawans for the next while.

But a little snow (or a lot) didn’t stop us. We arrived in time for the start of his show. He started with questions a South African who doesn’t like snow and cold would ask.

Why do we live here?

Why do we not move?

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since, because I love it here. But what exactly do I love, and how, and why?

Trevor Noah wasn’t a fan of our showpiece attraction – the Rideau Canal Skateway. But for us, it is JOY itself to skate for what feels like forever.

And we feel vindicated by the Lonely Planet’s selection of the skateway as one of their top 10 winter destinations.

And, if I don’t want to venture as far as the canal, I love that volunteers from my neighbourhood flood the area around the play structures so people can skate in a circuitous loop.

I love that I can drive for half an hour and go downhill skiing.

I love that the snowbanks serve as sofas when waiting for a bus.

I love that neighbours played a pick-up “Super Bowl” football game, with dogs, in two feet of snow in the park, and it was WAY more entertaining than the real Super Bowl.

I love that it’s just plain beautiful.

And I love that I know that proper clothing makes enjoying the beauty possible. Short coats and jeans? NO. Long coats and windproof pants? YES>

And those are just the winter thoughts . . .

I love that in May our parks fill up with displays of tulips like you will see nowhere else.

I love that the Rideau Canal that we skate on in the winter becomes a canoe/kayak/boat/picnic paradise in the summer.

I love that Ottawa is the capital of a country that is not perfect, but tries really hard to be so.

I love that we acknowledge our failings and work to improve.

And most of all, I love that we can laugh at ourselves, and our stereotypes – the accurate and the not-so-accurate. (A-boot? Huh?)

9 thoughts on “Why I live here: Answering the Trevor Noah questions

  1. Marybeth Ellis

    Awesome post, Arlene! Although I’m not really a fan of winter, I recognize that so many love it and you’ve definitely highlighted all of the “wonderfulness” of Ottawa. We live here because we choose to.

    Reply
  2. Carol

    There are those of us who love winter with its snow and ice and cold and those who prefer warm, sandy beaches. Variety makes the world go round, they say. As I get older, I am much less enamored of cold and snow.

    Reply
    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      A common feeling. I feel invigorated in the cold weather and absolutely useless in the heat and humidity of summer, so I’m the reverse of most people. Personally I think it comes down to clothing. Many people who don’t like winter are in appropriately dressed- in my mind, kind of like wearing a parka on a beach in the summer.

      Reply
  3. bruce thomas witzel

    Hi Arlene. My step son lives in Ottawa thought I’ve never experienced the city in Winter before. You’ve given a good overview here. I liked your Nancy Greene post…. look ahead, to see the big picture… seems like excellent wisdom. Cheers from Bruce on North Vancouver Island.

    Reply

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