By Paul Clement

Downtown Edmonton in the winter
Photo by Alex Pugliese on Unsplash

There’s nothing like Edmonton in the winter… and I don’t mean that in a good way!

I lived in Poland for ten years, from 2004 to 2014 and in that time, the coldest temperature that I saw was -27. In Edmonton? That’s nothing. Okay, it’s cold, but until it gets down to -30, people don’t really talk about the weather!

What do you think is the coldest temperature that I’ve ever seen in Edmonton? It’s another 15 degrees lower than -27… yes, you read that correctly… -42!

I remember having this conversation more than once during the lessons in Poland:

Student: It gets down to -40 in Poland too.
Paul: No it doesn’t!
Student: Yes it does!
Paul: Where?
Student: On Rysy!

Okay, I’m not talking about the top of a mountain. I’m talking about in the city… where you’re walking… where your breath turns into ice in your eyelashes!

A few years ago, Agnieszka and I decided to go to Edmonton to visit my family for Christmas. This wasn’t Agnieszka’s first time in Edmonton. Her first time was in 2006 for our honeymoon, but this was her first time there in the winter.

We almost didn’t get there on time. It was a really bad winter in Europe and a lot of flights were delayed or cancelled in both London and Frankfurt, so we were lucky that we arrived with no problems.

It was really cold in Edmonton that year, below -30 for most of the time we were there, but it’s funny that in Edmonton -30 doesn’t feel as cold as -27 does in Poland. This is probably because Poland is more humid(like Toronto is), so the air feels a lot colder in the winter.

Even though it was cold, we had a good time, because there are a lot of things to do in Edmonton in the winter!

For Christmas, my brother gave us tickets to an Edmonton Oilers game (the professional hockey team in Edmonton) and he went with us to the game. The Oilers lost, so I was happy (I hate the Oilers, but love going to a game to see them lose!).

We also went to see Candy Cane Lane, which is a street in Edmonton where every house has Christmas lights. People either drive or walk down the street and look at the lights and most people give a donationto the Edmonton food bank. Some of the houses have thousands of lights!

There is also West Edmonton Mall, the biggest shopping mall in North America (it was the biggest in the world when it opened in the 1980s). It’s perfect for a visit in the winter, because you have an aqua park, an amusement park, an ice rink, a casino, two cinemas, a hotel, a mini golf course and a lot of shops and restaurants all inside the nice warm mall!

Snow Valley, Rabbit Hill and the Edmonton Ski Club are three places to ski in Edmonton!
Photo by Harrison Moore on Unsplash

There are also three ski hills inside the city of Edmonton… but we didn’t go to any of them. It was too cold. It was MUCH too cold!


turn into – When we say that something turns into another thing, it means that it changes from one thing to another.

e.g. When ice gets too warm it turns into water.
e.g. My favourite Transformer is Starscream! He is a robot, but he turns into an aeroplane.

eyelashes – rzęsy

honeymoon – miesiąc miodowy

delayed – opóźniony

cancelled – odwołany

humid – wilgotny

donation – darowizna

food bank – A food bank is an organization that gives food to people who don’t have much money. At Christmas, a lot of people give food to food banks to help other people.

e.g. The Christmas concert is free, but you have to make a donation to the food bank.

amusement park – park rozrywki

ice rink – lodowisko

Do you understand?

1. What problem did we think might stop us from getting to Edmonton?
a) the cold in Edmonton
b) problems at airports in Europe
c) problems at airports in Canada

2. Why does the same temperature feel colder in Poland than in Edmonton?
a) because the air is drier in Poland
b) because the air is drier in Edmonton
c) because Edmonton has the same climate as Toronto

3. What did we NOT do in Edmonton during our visit?
a) look at Christmas lights
b) go to a hockey game
c) go skiing

4. This was Agnieszka’s…
a) first visit to Edmonton
b) first visit to Edmonton in the winter
c) last time ever in Edmonton

5. Which of these things can’t you do in West Edmonton Mall?
a) ski
b) swim
c) watch a film