It might still be fall but we’ve had more snowy days already than I’ve experienced in my life before Canada! So here’s what I’ve learnt about preparing for, surviving and making the most of Canadian winter.
Quick disclaimer, all of my information comes from southern Ontario, so while it’s colder here than Vancouver, if you’re headed to Edmonton all I can say is good luck! Try asking locals for help and international students too as they often have a more accurate gauge of how cold winter really gets. Learn from their mistakes!
Make sure to budget for winter clothes as while a raincoat and hoody will get you through any Auckland winter they won’t do much during entire months of subzero weather. If, like me, you would rather spend money on travel, then try borrowing from Canadian friends or buying secondhand online.
What You’ll Need
Winter Coat (winter semester)
- You’ll be wearing this almost every day for months so it needs to be thick enough to keep you warm and water resistant to keep the snow from soaking you.
- A larger size is good so you can add layers underneath, it’ll keep you warmer if it reaches down to the tops of your thighs and a fur trimmed hood is great for keeping your face from freezing in gusts of snow.
Snow Boots (winter semester)
- These look ridiculous but they’re very important for when you’re wading through heavy snow mid-winter.
- They should be waterproof, have a good temperature rating (check what’s needed near you), good tread for grip on ice, be a size too big for thicker socks and lightweight to make wading through snow easier.
Beanie, mittens or gloves and a scarf (both semesters)
- Unlike in Auckland these will get a lot of use.
- Waterproof Ankle Boots (both semesters)
- Very useful for days when it’s raining, lightly snowing or icy to keep your feet dry and warm and help you grip on ice.
- Most types of waterproof boots are suitable, they have great options here but many people use Doc Martins or Timberlands from home (though they’re not much help on ice).
Fall Coat (fall semester)
- Less heavily lined than a winter coat but useful for light snow and cold fall days.
- I’m still using mine in late December as most days are still warmer than -10.
Beat the Winter Blues!
With short days and cold weather it’s easy to feel trapped inside so to survive winter you need to make the most of it! Ice skating, skiing, snow shoeing and more are all at you fingertips in Canada so it’s easy to get out of the house with friends. Most importantly, make lots of visits to Tim Hortons to keep warm the Canadian way!
If you have any questions for me about Canada, McMaster, winter survival or even what to order at Timmies then feel free to talk to the 360 office about how to contact me!