How to Survive a Canadian Winter

Snowboarders at Blue Mountain, Ontario

Canada is most famous for its winters. Any time I tell people I am from Canada they start off by saying “Ooh how cold is it there? Do you get a summer?” We’re not in the North Pole people! If you look at a map of the world, you will see that some of our cities are more southern than some other major cities around the world. Our summers, especially in Southwestern Ontario, are humid and hot. Yes our winters can be harsh, but they can be overcome.

Since Radojko is moving to Canada with me in February, one of the worst months of winter in my opinion, I thought I would write a survival guide for those braving their first Canadian winter and how not to drive yourself stir crazy on those cold winter days.
Step 1: Find something to love about winter
This is key. If you are to face a Canadian winter head on, you have to find at least one thing to love about it. If you don’t, you will find yourself extremely bitter and miserable for 4-5 months out of the year.
Step 2: Purchase proper winter attire
Of course you are going to hate winter if your feet are soaking wet each time you step outside. That’s why it is important to buy a good pair of winter boots, a coat, gloves, scarf, and pants. Although anywhere you go is nicely heated, you still need to survive the cold by the time you get there. Having the wrong attire is going to make you miserable. That’s like living on a tropical island and not owning a bathing suit. It makes no sense.
Step 3: Get involved in a sport 

My favourite winter sport is ice skating. Here I am at the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
During the winter you can easily turn into a couch potato by sitting at home, miserable, eating your winter blues away. That is why it is important to get out and involved in a sport. Ideally a winter sport would be good to get involved in so that you have something to look forward to each winter, but if you simply can’t handle the cold, find a sport that will take you indoors. Staying healthy and active is very important, not only for your health, but sanity.
Step 4: Ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D
Don’t just go and buy Vitamin D over the counter. Go talk to your doctor who will run tests to determine how much Vitamin D (if any) your body is lacking. A Vitamin D deficiency will likely make you feel crappy, so be sure to talk to a health care professional before taking any pills. Don’t self medicate!
Step 5: Be social
It is important to see your friends during winter. Some of my favourite memories with friends have been during the winter months as we have always tried to do something fun. If you don’t know how to get creative, go to Tim’s and grab a hot drink to warm you up. You can’t get more Canadian than that!
Step 6: Go sledding 
Even if you are an adult, sledding can be a lot of fun! I love sledding and it is one of my favourite winter activities. But again,  make sure you have the proper winter attire, otherwise you will be miserable before you even slide down the hill.

Step 7: Go on a weekend getaway

Mom and I in Niagara-on-the-Lake

If you are in the financial position to do so, go for a weekend getaway, or even a day trip. See something that you love to see in the summer months, except now in the winter. It will definitely have a different feel to it, and you will not be disappointed.

Step 8: Fly down south 
If you really can’t deal with it, take a break and fly down south for 7 days. I did this 2 winters ago and it was lovely! While I was gone we had one of the worst weeks of winter. It was nice to be on a beach and not shovelling  a driveway.
Having been away from 2 Canadian winters, believe it or not, I kind of miss it. In Serbia and South Korea it was cold, but little to no snow. Winter isn’t all that fun when it is -10 and no snow. Of course I say this now, but ask me in a few months how I feel…

And for those of you wondering if you should come visit Canada in the winter, my answer is yes. Only because Canada has a lot of fun winter activities to offer that you might not be able to find anywhere else. We are experts in winter activities after all!

How do you survive a winter? Anything you want to add? I would love to hear it!
Happy Travels!


6 thoughts on “How to Survive a Canadian Winter”

  1. Drea, I loved this post. We escaped Canada just before the serious minuses began and I often asked locals how they deal with the frigid winters. Their answers were similar to your dot points. You make me want to give a Canadian winter a go 🙂

    x Prue

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! A road trip across Canada makes it difficult in the winter, that's for sure, but make sure the next time you ladies come to catch at least a bit of our winter festivities 🙂

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