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Okay, at least it’s a dry cold

December 30, 2015
Looking past the abandoned East Wing of City Hall at at the snow-covered North Shore mountains

Overlooking the abandoned East Wing of City Hall, towards downtown Vancouver and beyond to the snow-covered North Shore mountains.

It’s 2° C now at 2:30 p.m. here in Vancouver, B.C., and the temperature certainly wasn’t any higher earlier this morning.

At about 9:40 a.m., I was up on Yukon Street in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. The street was definitely living up to its namesake and if I had to guess, I’d say that the thermometer was hovering around brisk — if not verging on crisp.

It was the sort of bone-dry cold that’s easy to bundle up against though, so that was okay.

There wasn’t a cloud in the ice-blue sky and the crystal clarity of the chill air encouraged visions of brown squirrels poking their heads out from among the white snow-covered pine trees carpeting the distant North Shore Mountains.

Jack Frost (no relation to Robert) nipping at your nose

Greenery near road work, both fringed with frost and safety orange spray paint.

Greenery on 10th Ave., covered with frost and safety orange spray paint.

If the far-away trees looked frosty, it was also true that up-close the frost could look rather tree-like — depending where and how one was looking.

Frost piled thick on the black plastic lid of a dumpster.

Thick frost on the black plastic lid of a dumpster.

On the PVC plastic lid of a typical four cubic yard capacity dumpster, thick frost resolved at magnification as piled-up rectilinear crystals but on the green painted metal sides of the same dumpster, the frost was less thick but far more elaborately formed; branching out in beautiful fractal patterns over the cold steel, similar to the way that it would spread over cold glass.


I can’t begin to tell you why frost forms this way. I just know that it does and that it’s another one of those inexplicably amazing things that’s happening all around me, all the time, just waiting for me to stop and notice — or not. Click the images to enlarge them.

Frost making fractal pattens on the metal sides of a dumpster.

Frost making fractal pattens on the metal sides of a dumpster.

  1. Hi. Nice post. I’m embarrassed to admit as a second-generation vancouverite…and a vancouver history buff to boot…that I didn’t know this part of city hall was abandoned. Oh, the secrets of our city. Could we find someone to start one if those “forbidden tours” that are all the rage?
    Nice shot of the safety orange on the plants too. I’m getting a bit tired of seeing it all over my neighbourhood, also on the foliage (12th and Maple). Did you see any of that type of ground frost I remember so fondly from my childhood….where the layer of earth kind of heaves and there are crunchy ice crystals in it. I used to love those patches…I think it took certain weather conditions of which I am completely ignorant…except for it being a “dry cold”.
    I walked my pooch down to kits beach the other sunny day for a (well, no reason, except its fun) look at the mountains and eventually the sunset. We met a fellow who had cycled down specifically to get a glimpse of The Lions covered in snow. Unfortunately, kits is a poor view point for this, as I pointed out to him, as The Lions just melt into the north shore. I told the fellow to head back over towards Main Street for a better view. And….your photo today proves me right, must better distinction. (He didn’t care about being able to see the lights at Cypress. To each his own, as they say. (I’d have said that in French, but I’d have had to turn on spellcheck)
    Thanks for another very interesting post. Happy new year to you!

    Oh. Well, I noticed another reader of yours had commented recently about ??, the “homeless fellow “”who won the lottery, and had no ID to claim the prize. Yet. Your reader mentioned that he thought you were as interesting a person to be written about, but you demurred. Well, I think so too, but I think I may understand some of your reasons. I’m betting as a private person, ?? (Darn, brain fade) is not enjoying the exposure, nor is he enjoying the ugly internet attention and comments that seem to be part and parcel of the whole media package. Hopefully that freak-of-the-day stuff will end ASAP. And a happy new year to him too..

    • When my post about finding CSBA guard shirts in a Fairview dumpster became a one-day wonder in the general media, I turned down a number of interviews.

      I specifically turned down an on-air appearances on CKNW om the basis that I would feel like the piece of meat used to warm up the lions before the Christians were thrown in.

      I would got to the media if I had a specific issue I wanted to promote but not just to try and build my personal profile. I am not, and have no desire to be, The King of the Homeless People. And besides, my teeth are atrocious and the residual effects of Bell’s Palsy means that words beginning with “B” will always have to be spoken carefully.

  2. But how dry is it?


    You can have some of ours if you like – as at 18:59:23NZDT on New Year’s Eve 2015:

    Altitude: 79 m
    Latitude: -36.8667°
    Longitude: 174.7667°

    Weather data:
    Last: 2015-12-31 18:40:46
    Next: 2015-12-31 19:00:46
    Current failed attempts: 0

    Astronomical data:
    Last: 2015-12-31 11:57:50
    Next: 2016-01-01 00:00:00
    Current failed attempts: 0

    Times Used for Calculations
    Temperatures, wind, atmosphere and cloud data calculated
    for: 2015-12-31 19:00:00

    Precipitation and the weather symbol have been calculated
    using the following time interval:
    Start: 2015-12-31 16:00:00
    End: 2015-12-31 22:00:00

    Astronomical Data
    Sunrise: 2015-12-31 06:03:48
    Sunset: 2015-12-31 20:43:07

    Moon phase: Third quarter
    Moonrise: 2016-01-01 00:17:32
    Moonset: 2015-12-31 11:27:25

    Temperature: 20.5 °C
    Dew point: 14.3 °C
    Apparent temperature: 20.5 °C

    Speed: 25.2 km/h (4 on the Beaufort scale)
    Direction: E (71.4°)

    Precipitations amount: 0.0 mm

    Barometric pressure: 1019.2 hPa
    Relative humidity: 67.4 %

    Fog: 0.0 %
    Low clouds: 3.1 %
    Middle clouds: 39.5 %
    High clouds: 22.6 %
    Cloudiness: 62.5 %

    Encyclopedic information partly taken from

    Elevation and timezone data provided by

    Weather and astronomical data from
    The Norwegian Meteorological Institute


    Also, RIP the two Ians – Ian Fraser Kilmister and Ian Murdock 😦

    I wish you and everyone you care about the 2016 you deserve 🙂

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