Search on Narcity
10 Cities That Make Ottawa's Winter Look Like Nothing

Our greatest struggle is upon us. Soon there will be just frost on our car in the morning, then the first thin blanket of snow on the front lawn. Then we'll be trapped in our driveways because the snowplow man decided to just push all the snow off the street there. Soon.

Believe it or not, there's actually worse. Some cities have it real tough. While no winter will make Ottawa's look like a beach vacation in the Bahamas (we're one of the coldest capitals in the world), some will at least make our winter look better. That says at least something.

Here are 10 cities that show how much better off we are in the winter. Even if it's only by a bit, really.

1. Yakutsk, Russia

Often considered to be the coldest city on Earth, this Siberian city averages -40 degrees Celsius in the wintertime. Believe it or not, approximately 270000 people actually live here. That's 1/4 of Ottawa's population.

2. Astana, Kazakhstan

Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997, which officially solidified its status as the second coldest capital city in the world. The city is interesting. Nothing really surrounds Astana except grassland, so imagine if a metropolis like Toronto spawned out of the middle of a massive farm field. The city is a place of extremes, with winter temperatures falling as low as -40 degrees Celsius often. Summers get as humid and hot as Ottawa's, so don't expect a good hair day in Kazakhstan either.

3. Hell, Norway

Literally. Hell freezes for a third of the year in the middle of Norway. Tourists often go visit to take a picture at the town's train station to say that they saw hell freeze over. On average, we're talking about -25 degrees Celsius of sub-Arctic temperatures for a third of a year.

4. Oymyakon, Russia

More of a town than a city, Oymyakon's weather station reported a low of -71.2 degrees Celsius in 1926. Temperatures still average -50 degrees Celsius in the winter. 500 very, very brave people live here. God bless them.

5. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The coldest capital city in the world. Temperatures dip to -40 degrees Celsius in the winter and the average temperature for the whole year is about -2.4 degrees Celsius. Yes, a capital city in the world has an average of negative temperatures for the whole year. Probably still better than Ottawa's wretched humidity, though.

6. Barrow, Alaska

The United States' northernmost city is about 515km deep into the Arctic Circle and has no sunlight between late November and late January. It's so cold that the town is built on permafrost: soil that's permanently frozen throughout the year.

7. Harbin, China

Harbin, arguably the coldest city in China, is also nicknamed the "Ice City". Winter can last as long as half a year. Despite the frigid temperatures, this place is actually a winter wonderland though. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival gives Winterlude a run for its money. Also, Harbin also has a population of 10 million people. That's about a third of the population of our country and ten times bigger than Ottawa.

8. Snag, Yukon

The town of Snag was home to the lowest temperature in the history of North America: -63 degrees Celsius, in 1947. The population of Snag today: Zero. The village is abandoned. I wonder why.

9. Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Winnipeg. Infamous Winnipeg. If you're from Winnipeg, you're probably wondering why this one's so low on the list. It often drops to -30 degrees Celsius in the winter and is often considered to have the coldest weather of any major Canadian city. Poor, poor Winnipeg. The only ones not complaining about winter in Ottawa are from Winnipeg.

10. Moscow, Russia

That's three times Russia has made it onto the list. Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity in the world. But don't let winter in Moscow dissuade you from going there. There's plenty of bars (and vodka) to keep you warm.

Recommended For You