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Tips to survive the Canadian winters

Here’s a warm guide to survive the frigid Canadian winters


Whenever someone mentions Canada, one of the first images that pop in your mind is of its cold-harsh winters. So, if you are planning to study in Canada or are already on its way, be prepared! Winters in Canada span about 4-5 months (November to March), which is almost the same as India but with a difference – they can be biting cold!  

Here are some quick tips to help you keep warm and survive those cold wintry days and nights in Canada: 

1. Know the location 

Canada is the second-largest country in the world. No wonder it experiences different kinds of weathers in different areas. The west coast, towards the cities like Vancouver, Victoria, Surrey, along the Pacific Ocean, is warmer than the rest of Canada. Winters here are not as cold as the rest of the country. The Eastern Coast that has cities like Halifax, St. John’s and Moncton has moderate to very cold winters due to the gushing winds. Areas in the mid-region like Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg, etc. may experience very cold winters in patches depending on the season, locations and winds. So, before you leave, it’s good to read up about the weather conditions.

2. Cover up in layers

The winters of northern parts of Canada are not to be taken lightly – you need layers! Starting with thermals or innerwear, followed by regular wear, a sweater/jumper/hoody of choice, a well-insulated jacket, muffler/scarf, cap, gloves and snowshoes – I could go on and on! But trust me, layering is the only way you can survive in popular wintry cities like Toronto, Montreal regions during winters. If you are staying in an area which experiences high snowfall, invest in a good pair of snow pants and snow boots. Make sure that most of your clothing is waterproof, especially during snowfalls. 

3. Don’t stay out longer than required

All buildings, vehicles and subway stations are well insulated and have a proper central heating system in place. The city department keeps the roads and sidewalks clean to make it easier to travel. In fact, most buses and trains have updated timesheets that you can track using transport apps to schedule your outdoor movements appropriately. It's best to go outdoors for short walks, or necessary activities like snow shovelling, maintenance, etc. If you are not used to extreme cold, limit your extra outdoor activities. 

4. Check the weather every day 

Before you step outside for any activity, it’s always best to check the weather stats. And check both - the “Real temperature” as well as the “Feels like” temperature. This will help you dress accordingly and if you need to carry an extra layer for later. Plus, if you need to carry an umbrella or not. 

5. Eat and sleep well 

I cannot stress less on the fact – eat healthy. Keep your carb to protein ratio balanced and do exercise to keep your body warm and fit. Do not forget to catch up your sleep!

The most important thing when you are in midst of a Canadian winter is to enjoy! The season changes bring in various activities which are worth trying out. For instance, ice skating and skiing is something you might not have done here in India – give it a shot. Build a snowman, go, see ice sculptures – there is so much to do! 

  • When buying winter clothing, prefer quality over price
  • Prefer to take subways and public facilities that are well-insulated
  • Static shocks are very common if you are wearing cotton or fleece-based clothing, but be wary of the metal surfaces
  • Walk carefully in snow and wear waterproof boots with a nice grip for friction. It comes in handy, especially when the snow melts (which can be very slippery)
  • Keep essential items like lip balms, moisturisers, cold creams or hand lotions handy to prevent parched lips or hands 

Updated on January 15, 2021

Stay updated

Watch these interesting and informative videos to know more about the weather in Canada and advice for Indian students to prepare for the same.

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Sarthak Tandon

Sarthak is one of our international education experts at IDP Lucknow and carries with him an experience of three years in the industry, specialising in education in Canada. Being an international student himself (he’s a postgraduate in International Business Management from George Brown College, Canada), Sarthak connects with students well and understands the challenges they may face during the process.

He uses his firsthand experience 
to guide students who aspire to study in Canada and has successfully conducted multiple student-oriented webinars to benefit them. 


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