Canada is not the first place people think of as patio friendly, but such people are likely not Canadians, as those in the Great White North will find any possible excuse to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the season.
I have a friend (ok, all my friends actually) for whom there is no ‘Barbecue season;’ His grill is ready to rock all year long, despite being firmly in the middle of his gorgeous patio deck, well away from the main house, he can be seen in a toque and parka with his ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron in February, turning everything from seafood to pork roasts without the slightest sense of inconvenience that two feet of snow and sub zero temperatures might incur.
That’s the love affair we Canadians have with our porches and patios, as not even Old Man Winter can keep us from reveling in them for long; not snow, nor sleet nor driving winds can keep us shuttered away indoors for weeks or months on end in the grips of winter without demanding a social event to remind us that Spring is in the air, no matter that it’s only January.
One of my good friends has three ceramic wood burning ovens that he has roaring whenever he and his wife entertains in the winter, and they usually offer a bevy of food on skewers that make use of the ovens to cook with, everything from kebabs to marshmallows, with the warmth and charm of this communal process infusing the entire gathering.
Still another friend has paved over a good proportion of his backyard with a flat, concrete base, which was a major sacrifice for his wife, who used the space previously as part of her garden. The couple have 3 children and when I asked my friend about the transformation, he said simply, ‘I want the kids to have a rink in winter.’ Using the concrete base, a few layers of water and presto, they have an instant ice rink in their backyard each year, which doubles as a skating venue for their annual New Year’s Eve party, which has become the most anticipated and fun social event of the year..
There’s really no end to the possibilities of entertaining outdoors in winter, as Canadian patios are as flexible and creative as the people who invented snow shoes and curling and ice wine, so shovel off the patio deck and crank up the BBQ, because these crazy Canucks just can’t wait until summer.
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