3 Tips to Survive A Toronto Winter

I was born in raised in Canada and I love it. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be!

Except between the months of November and March.

Canada is infamously known for its hard winters in some parts of the country. I admit I’m not a fan. After enduring 17 years of Ottawa winters filled with ice, snow, and freezing temperatures (-20° Celsius being warm), I was ready to take on my first Toronto winter while at Ryerson. And let me tell you…

It’s not that bad! 

This year, we had our first snowfall in November. It was melted days later. There’s snow here and there, and it does get cold sometimes. Especially downtown, there will rarely be times when you can get stuck in a snowbank. If you’re from somewhere warm and wondering how to survive winter in Toronto, don’t fret! Follow these tips and you’ll be enjoying your winter season.

1. Have good gear

You’re only as warm as your winter clothes. Good winter essentials like boots and coats don’t come cheap, but they’re worth every penny. They last a long time if you take care of them. Having a good winter coat to keep you warm and dry outdoors is key to not catching winter chills. It’s annoying to wear them indoors, but you’ll be thankful once you’re outside. My current winter jacket is from The Bay. I’ve had it for years and it still keeps me warm. Good boots that can keep you from slipping and sliding on ice are necessary to save you from the embarrassment of falling. It’s also important that your boots keep your feet warm and dry. Getting your feet wet then sitting in a three-hour lecture is no fun. Purchasing boots from stores like Marks, sports stores or outdoor shops like Eddie Bauer guarantee the best quality. Hats, mittens or gloves, and scarves also keep you warm!

2. Be prepared

Having winter gear is great! But if you’re not wearing it when the weather strikes, you’re out of luck. Always take a look at the weather before heading out for the day. If snow or freezing rain is expected, make sure you have your boots and coat. If it’s going to be cold, bring your hat and mittens because freezing extremities are not fun. When planning for your week, look at the weather and prepare accordingly. If 15 centimetres of snow is expected, be prepared for messy roads and sidewalks and leave extra travel time. I always have mittens in my bag and check the weather before I head out for the day in case I’m walking in an ice storm later.

A man in a suit shivering in a blizzard

Don’t end up like this guy! Always be prepared in winter. Giphy

3. Have fun!

Winter may be dreary and cold, but there are so many fun winter activities to break it up! Toronto has many outdoor ice rinks where the only cost is rental skates if you don’t have a pair. You can skate outside the Toronto sign at Nathan Philips Square, underneath the Gardiner expressway and even here on campus! Lake Devo outside the Ryerson Image Centre turns into an ice rink during the winter months. If skating isn’t your thing, you can light up your Instagram feed at the Toronto Light Festival, sled down snowy hills, or see some outdoor art on the beach through Winter Stations. There are ways to make winter just as fun as summer!

Lake Devo at Ryerson, a skating rink in the winter.

Ryerson’s Lake Devo

If you’re worried about tackling your first Toronto winter—don’t be! By having good clothing, watching the weather, and taking advantage of activities, the season will be magical!

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