CWO – Weather Observing Course – For All The Wrong Reasons

Some people idealize living in a remote small town.  The pace is slow.  Everyone knows your name.  Away from the hectic, bustling city with its’ heavy traffic and long, nightmare days of working and running around, living in a small town is a dream every city dweller will have.

When I moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere in the vast mountain ranges of British Columbia, it was for a wrong reason.  At that point in my life I wanted to drop out of society.  I wanted to be alone.  I would have been better off moving to the North West Territories or Yukon and lived my life without contact from other human beings.

2008-01-31 10.40.14Very soon in a small town, everyone knows you, even if you don’t know anyone.  If you are inclined to be a loner, people start discussing why you are there.  What isn’t known, is soon decided anyway and becomes a fact.  It’s not that anyone is deliberately mean, it’s more that they have to do something.  There was little else by way of entertainment in most small towns.  What neighbors are doing becomes very important to some. After a period of ignoring life and grieving, I again discovered I wanted to be part of living and life. I decided to look for a job.

2008-07-20 05.30.01Realizing my choices were limited, I discovered small towns are notorious for ‘knowing’ people and giving people they know jobs. I applied for an opening at their small airport as a Weather Observer.  I didn’t get it.  Someone they knew was sent to Cornwall, Ontario to take the six week course.

Nav Canada

Fortunately for me (unfortunately for her) she failed the course.  So I received a telephone call with the offer. I accepted.  Arrangements were made to fly out and for accommodations in Cornwall, Ontario at NAV Canada, (now called NAV Centre) for  Weather Observer training (basic Meteorology Training).  I flew to Ottawa, Ontario and was bused to the small city of Cornwall in the humid, hot night.  The room was nice and had air conditioning.  The cafeteria was big and served good food.

I had the distinction of being the oldest person to ever take the course.  I met many wonderful, young people (from all over the world)  and had some fun, enjoyable times.


3 thoughts on “CWO – Weather Observing Course – For All The Wrong Reasons

  1. HI Mary

    I am a weather observing contractor with stations in Calgary, Victoria and Abbotsford.

    Contact me at if your interested in working one of these locations.

    Enjoyed your story well written and insightful

    Rick Hurst

  2. Hi Mary,
    I am wondering if you enjoyed the course and found it easy or difficult? I am about to embark on a similar journey and am not a ‘young pup’ anymore, but I learn things quickly and already live in the small town – need a change and this may be a career that interests me – and luck has it, there are positions available and Cornwall training as well….your thoughts?


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