How do people manage to go out and work in deadly Canadian winters?
Winter is not “deadly” in most of Canada. Not most of the time, at least. It’s all fatal if you’re unprepared for it.
Near the northern U.S. border, most Canadians live and work, so winters are no harsher than the upper New York State, Michigan, Minnesota, etc.
More notably, Canadians usually have a wardrobe for fall, winter, and spring that allows them to dress properly for the weather conditions. Jackets, scarves, gloves or mittens, parkas, caps of different kinds, snow boots with insulation, etc.
Working outside in the daytime also entails layers of clothes, but despite the cold weather, one can get pretty warm in the sunlight while hard at work.
The real issue is the storm. When there is no wind, a sunny, sub-freezing day can feel almost balmy. But it can be painful and harmful when the wind whips up, creating a risk of frostbite on exposed skin.
Those that have to work outside also have special equipment, such as tents that can fit over an access hatch in the street and heaters to fill the work area with some warm air, such as utilities (electricity, cable, telephone, etc.) Portable propane heaters are mostly used by construction workers. And the fishermen. Electric radiant heaters that directly warm you (like sunshine) are also found in barns, sheds and workshops with open doors.
There are thermal undergarments and socks for extended periods outside.
Many of our cars have heaters, and in winter, it is recommended that everyone have an emergency kit, including a blanket, in their car. Also, just before the tank gets close to zero, reload.
We also have unique vehicles for driving around in unplowed areas, including snowmobiles. Roads are constantly plowed and salted so that they are drivable, and the pavement is bare most days.
During heavy snowfalls, when the plows do not keep up, or when there is a lot of wind causing blustery low visibility conditions known as whiteouts, the hazards come.
Some places, including Winnipeg Manitoba, get brutal cold stretches, often stretching for weeks, where it gets below minus 20 Celsius.
In this kind of cold, machinery does not operate well, so it is commonplace to keep equipment inside shelters or garages or to have heaters mounted to keep the fluids liquid for the oil pan or engine block.
There are garages in most Canadian homes. They are not heated, but they are usually attached to the home and remain much warmer than outside, enough to make starting the engine quick.
In bus shelters, which are common at most stations, those who rely on public transit can take shelter. There isn’t much for them, just a large booth with glass sides and a roof. But it takes your mind off the snow and the rain, and it cuts down on the wind.
Canadian parents also struggle over this issue with their adolescents and young adults. They prefer to dress according to what their peers deem to be socially appropriate. They don’t look “cool” with caps, scarves, winter boots and parkas, so they go off to school or work undressed for the season. They pay a high price for it sometimes. Frostbite can lead to nerve damage that is permanent. It may be necessary to amputate the fingers and toes.
Though Canadian winters can be dangerous, they are survived by most Canadians. Several still love them.