"It's one of the things where we're seen united as Canadians, in wanting it to be a white Christmas," said Environment Canada's senior climatologist David Phillips, according to the Globe and Mail. "We want it on that day to put us in the mood. It's almost like [having] turkey and toys. It's just part of the feeling at Christmas time."
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According to Environment Canada weather records and statistics, the chances of a White Christmas — defined as having at least 2 cm of snow on the ground at 7 a.m. Christmas morning — are on the decline across the country, with only six population centres reporting either a slight increase from years past (Vancouver and Victoria up from 10% each to 20% and 15%, respectively) or holding steady (Kenora, Iqaluit, Whitehorse and Yellowknife at 100%).
"We have this reputation," said Phillips. "We are known as the Cold White North, but I don't think we're as cold and white as we once were. Our reputation is being undermined. Winter is not... what it used to be. It was more of a done deal. It was more of a guarantee."
Based on records dating back to 1955, the statistics show the difference between what kids today are experiencing, compared to when their parents were kids, and how the chances of a White Christmas have dropped between 5% and 45% for most areas. The most extreme case was in Sarnia, Ontario. For those that were growing up there between 1963 and 1982, there was an 80% chance of snow on Christmas morning, but for their kids, than chance has gone down to only 35%.
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"The lesson for this is if you get one: embrace it, enjoy it because it is something that future generations will have be dreaming a little harder to get," said Phillips. "We know the future is warmer and with less snow."