Signs of Spring (in a northern city)

Maybe you’re used to a very colourful spring season.  In Japan, the Sakura (cherry blossoms) are blooming, and in Holland, the tulips are blooming.  Here in Edmonton, spring comes more slowly, and the colours aren’t so bright, in the beginning.  Nevertheless, there are some clues that the season is changing:

10. There is gravel and garbage in the gutters of the streets:


After the snow melts, we can see all of the garbage that people threw away during the winter.  It looks really ugly while it decomposes, but it will be swept up someday!  The gravel is similar, and it makes everything look brown in the early spring.  It’s necessary to spread a lot of sand or gravel in the winter, to keep cars from slipping on the snow and ice.  It doesn’t look nice now, but it’s a sign, or signal, that the season is changing.

9. Puddles are on the streets and sidewalks:


Some years, there is a lot of snow melting, and the puddles are very deep.  This year, it’s a pretty dry spring, but we still have puddles, small areas that are full of water.  If you have children, you should get them rubber boots, because they want to splash in the puddles, and their shoes and socks will get wet and dirty!

Happy in the puddles!

Happy in the puddles!

8. Birds are back!


There are many different kinds of birds that have returned to the Edmonton area.  You can hear them, and you can see them, wherever you go.  Woodpeckers make a knocking sound, on the trees.  Birds are starting to build nests, and they’re looking for food all around them.  This grouse (prairie chicken) was wandering around my neighbourhood, but usually they live in the woods and forests.  It’s very similar to a chicken, but it’s a wild bird.

7. Spring flowers are on sale in the stores:


Tulips and daffodils won’t bloom here for a few more weeks, but people love to bring them indoors, while we wait for warmer weather.

6. Bikes are back:


Now that the ice and snow has melted, everyone who has a bicycle, wants to ride it.  The bicycle racks are full, all over downtown.  Hopefully, you don’t live near a motorcyclist, because the motorbikes are back on the road now, and they are very noisy!

5. Spring cleaning is happening:


People are washing their cars, sweeping their balconies, washing windows, and cleaning up their homes.  When days get longer, and weather is warmer, everyone wants to tidy up their surroundings.  Some people are even taking down their Christmas lights!

Washing windows: a sign of spring!

4: Sunrise is early, and sunset is late

Here in Edmonton, we have very long days, between March and September.  It may be hard to get enough sleep, unless you have dark curtains in your bedroom.

Sunrise before 6 am3: Food trucks have returned:

There is an application: Street Food Edmonton that tells you where each of the food trucks will be parked every day, as well as what their hours will be.  You can try food from all over the world, and it’s almost warm enough to stay outside and eat it!

Return of the food trucks!

Return of the food trucks!

2: Grass and trees are starting to turn green:

If you look hard enough, you can find patches of green grass, and there are green branches on some trees.  Flowers like tulips and irises are starting to sprout, although they aren’t blooming yet.

Green grass at the Skaro shrine (northeast of Edmonton)

Green grass at the Skaro shrine (northeast of Edmonton)

1) Barbecues and picnics are back!

Enjoying a cool-weather picnic and barbecue at Victoria Park

Enjoying a cool-weather picnic and barbecue at Victoria Park

Canadians love to barbecue, and some people cook meat outside all winter long.  However, most people prefer until it’s comfortable for the whole family to sit outside, before they begin to grill.  Many people enjoy a simple hot dog or hamburger, but others create a feast on the grill.  Traditionally, the barbecue is the responsibility of the man of the house and women will continue to do the other cooking and cleaning indoors, while the meat grills.  The city is full of parks with picnic tables, and fire pits or grills, so you don’t need to have a yard or a balcony to enjoy this spring custom!

What do you like to do in the spring?  It will probably be different for you, here in Edmonton, but it’s still an exciting season!


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