By Paul Gessell
First, let me state my biases: I loathe snow and winter. I loved tunnelling through snowdrifts as a child and building snow forts but I stopped loving snow and winter when I became responsible for shovelling the driveway and for starting temperamental vehicles in minus-40 weather.
So, I had few positive expectations upon approaching the new exhibition, simply titled Snow, at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. We have to deal with snow these days every minute we are outside. Do we really need snow inside, too?
Well, it turns out, there are some gems in the exhibition, which was partially financed by Bombardier, the snowmobile people. Among those gems is the forerunner of the snowmobile, which is actually a covered, motorized sled. The 1958 version in the exhibition looks like a streamlined army tank with skis in front. Larger versions of such vehicles were used as winter school buses when I was a kid in rural Saskatchewan and no one bothered to clear snow from the country roads. We called these vehicles Bomb-a-deers, the French pronunciation of Bombardier being too difficult for prairie anglos. (more…)