Dec 6, 2012 - Miscellaneous    No Comments

Snow and other observations

The last 24 hours or so has seen a lot of snow being dropped here in Stockholm. With this snowfall they closed the schools at 1pm and then also shut down the buses on the street at 3pm. Arlanda airport also essentially shut down as only 3-4 planes landed and nothing took off. This is abnormal for this time of year to get so much snow but based on the news, Europe is getting hammered right now and we are seeing part of that here in Sweden.

It’s quite mild here today as it is hovering around zero Celsius but it’s supposed to get cold again by tonight. That’s ok with me as the snow makes everything so much brighter with the limited sunlight.

So, looking at how things are done here with snowfall made me think …. what do we do right and wrong in Canada? Here goes:

1. Snow Removal

In Ottawa, at any hint of snow we send out salt trucks, snow plows, the army and a food drive just to get back to the pavement so the dog walkers and other people don’t slip . In Sweden, they don’t salt the sidewalks and let the snow trample down and subsequently they drop gravel on top so that you have some grip. In my mind that is a waste of money and people can adapt to this while saving money. (Especially my $8K tax bill!!)

Verdict: Sweden

2. Bathrooms

North America has an approach with public bathrooms whether in a mall/business or an office tower. One big room each for males and females. Here in Sweden, they only have private bathrooms about the size of a closet. I can now say after 5 weeks I prefer the private bathrooms. The privacy obviously is the winner here although you are at the mercy of what the previous person leaves for you but I haven’t seen any of those problems.

Locks on the bathrooms are interesting as well. To lock the door, you push the handle up towards the ceiling which causes the outside lock panel to turn red which indicates it is in use. A neat little system.

The only problem I see is that in the city centre you have to pay to use these stalls which sucks. Equivalent of $1 CAD. :-(

Verdict: A tie. The problem of paying is overwhelming.

3. Transit

I am not even going to write much on this one as it is so lopsided. From digital signs on buses, bus stops, subway trains to on-time arrivals destroys anything in Canada. We are completely backwards with our approach to transit in Canada because of the dominance of the car culture. In Europe they love their cars but they love efficiency more and thus transit is given such a boost here.

Verdict: Sweden in a landslide.

Well, rant over. Need to go to bed early tonight.




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