Calgarians cope with freezing cold February

As the city headed into a third day of extreme winter weather on Tuesday, some Calgarians decided to embrace Old Man Winter to try and deal with the frigid cold.

At Boogie’s Burgers, owner Kip Techtmeyer realized very quickly that as the temperature plummeted, business could follow suit.

The Bridgeland institution has been serving up burgers and fries for 50 years in Calgary and relies almost solely on foot traffic. Techtmeyer said he believes the cold temperatures might mean people wouldn’t be keen on leaving the comfort of their homes to get food.


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“We don’t have a Skip the Dishes or delivery,” he explained. “It probably impacts us to the tune of 50 or 60 per cent of our business some days.”

The owner decided to get creative and started offering a discount based on below-zero temperatures.

“When somebody comes through the door, we check our phone to see what the temperature is outside,” Techtmeyer said. “You get that discount. If it’s minus -24 C outside, you get 24 per cent off your bill.”

Techtmeyer said the business posted the advertisement online and so far the incentive seems to be paying off.

“Yesterday, about 30 per cent of our sales that came through our door, as near as we could tell right now, was somebody who said they saw the post.”

Environment Canada issued a weather warning for Calgary on Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday, temperatures were expected to reach -36C with a windchill. The weather started causing chaos on the roads and in people’s homes almost immediately.

Pete Archdekin owns a business called Pete the Plumber and said that his crews have been working non-stop trying to help homeowners dealing with no heat and frozen pipes.

Archdekin suggested older homes that are more susceptible to pipes freezing can take some simple steps to mitigate the risk of problems.

“Turn your water off,” he explained. “If you’re going to work, turn your water off. At night, turn your water off, open the basement bar sink or washroom, drain the house and it won’t freeze.”

Archdekin said that his company received so many calls that they couldn’t even get to all of them. He said that when people panic there are a few easy steps owners can take while they wait for professional help.

“Get a space heater… turn the oven on… open the door… turn the fireplaces on, of course,” he said. “You’re going to generate enough heat to stay warm in the house”.

Several schools in Calgary and in surrounding areas were closed on Tuesday due to the weather. Environment Canada lifted its extreme cold warning for Calgary on Tuesday, but temperatures are expected to stay below -10 C until the weekend.

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