Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

British expats embrace snowy Prairie winters

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It's a stretch for Manitobans to imagine pouring rain in the middle of December, but that's how Tony Kennett remembers his native England.

"It would always rain back home during the holidays," recalls Kennett, who first came to Winnipeg in the 1960s and eventually settled here in 1974. "When I moved to Winnipeg, it was a wonderful change."

Even when temperatures dropped to well below what he was used to in the United Kingdom, Kennett says, he was captivated by the beauty of winter in the Great White North.

"What I remember most is the big, blue sky and how it just went on forever."

Kennett also remembers how easy it was for him and his wife to make friends when they arrived and how they were given the quintessential introduction to Canadiana in their first winter here.

"They took us skiing and showed us how to skate and play hockey," he recalls. "We just got wrapped up with the whole winter experience."

It's a seasonal experience 21-year-old Adrian Trimble has come to look forward to every year.

"I don't think it's as bad as people make it out to be, really," says Trimble, who moved from Great Britain with his family to Steinbach in 2007. "It's cold, but if you dress warm and you prepare for it, you can still have a good time outdoors.

"The one thing I wasn't prepared for," Trimble admits, "is when you feel your nostrils start to freeze up."

Trimble says what surprised him most about his first winter in Manitoba was how life carried on when the heating bills rose and the sidewalks froze.

"Back home, if you get even a couple inches of snow, everything comes to a halt until the snow is gone," he says of winters in west Wales. "Whereas here, life keeps on going regardless of how much snow we get and how cold it gets."

And while the University of Winnipeg student says he's still too apprehensive to strap on a pair of skates, he's spent his share of frigid afternoons barreling down toboggan hills.

What Trimble appreciates most about winters on the Prairies, however, has nothing to do with sledding.

"My favourite thing about the holiday season here is eggnog."

ryan.bowman@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 21, 2012 B4

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