Your first winter in Canada can be daunting, especially if you’re coming from a country with a more forgiving climate. But, fear not! We’ve put together a list of ways you can prepare for the cold months.
A Guide to Layers
You’ve probably already been told to layer your clothes to keep warm. However, you have to layer strategically. If you layer cotton t-shirts and long-sleeves, you’ll still be shivering. The best base-layer is wool, which will keep you dry, followed by fleece and a down jacket, which will keep you warm, and a waterproof top-layer which will keep you double dry! This formula is for extreme weather, so you can tone it down as you see fit.
TIP: When deciding between mittens and gloves, keep in mind that since mittens keep your fingers together, they provide a lot more warmth than gloves.
Even with the warmest coats and outerwear, if you get wet, you’ll be cold. Make sure your boots are waterproof and make sure you use weatherproofing spray for extra protection. You can usually get weatherproofing spray at any shoe store (or just ask a friend or neighbour – it’s a staple in many Canadian homes). Have an extra pair of mittens so you can swap them out while one pair dries after a snowball fight.
TIP: lay your wet toques and mittens over the air vent in your house so they dry faster and are toasty warm when you put them on. You can even buy special vent covers designed for your mittens.
Terminology: Soaker; when you step in a puddle and your boot gets soaked in water.
Embrace It, Keep Active
One sure-fire way to keep warm is to keep moving. Embracing the cold with a winter sport or activity will help you warm up to the idea of sub-zero temperatures and snow. Try skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, pond hockey, snow tubing, or all of the above! Getting enough sunlight can be challenging in the winter, so it’s important to get out when you can and soak up as much vitamin D as possible.
TIP: If you find yourself over-heating, remove a layer or cool down. Make sure to take your jacket off once inside. Sweat can dampen your clothes and cause coldness.
- Gloves that your touchscreen phone recognizes so you don’t have to get frostbite to send a text
- Lip balm – your lips can get incredibly chapped in the cold
- Warm outerwear; toque, mittens, gloves, balaclava, ear-muffs, scarf, buff, etc
- Hot water bottle to cozy up on the couch with
For Outdoor Adventures:
- Hand and foot warmers to keep in your boots and/or mittens
- Strap-on ice cleats for the bottom of your boots to give you more traction while walking on ice
- Lined leggings or long-johns for your leg base-layer
For Your Car:
- Windshield scraper – you’ll absolutely need one for every car to knock snow off your car and scrape frost off your windshield in order to drive safely
- An emergency winter kit – you should have a small box with a blanket, extra hats, mittens, some food that won’t expire, water bottles, salt, a small shovel, wind-up flashlights, roadmaps, matches, and a candle in your car in case you’re stranded after an accident. A small lit candle in your car will provide enough heat to keep you warm. You should also always have boots in your car in case you have to walk anywhere
- Snow tires
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