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dressing for Canadian winters

You may have heard stories about the Canadian winter being very harsh and long.  The truth is that, yes the winter is cold, with temperatures reaching as low as minus 20 degrees in Toronto and Ottawa.  However, with just a little planning ahead and a few new clothes, you will find that you can be comfortable with these temperatures.  More good news, is that your home will have central heating, making it warm and cozy throughout the winter.  The same is true of nearly every indoor space, so you will not have to spend too long in the cold if you don’t want to.

 

Canadians are a resilient group of people, and they have found ways to adapt to the cold of their winter.  Many new cars have self-starters, so that in the morning, you can start your car from the warmth of your living room, wait for it to warm up, and then hop into your car just a short walk from your front door.  As an immigrant to Canada, you will probably not have a car in the first little while after you arrive.  If you plan on taking public transport in Canada during the winter, you may have to wait at the bus stop in very cold weather.  This is when you will need some essential items to help you stay warm.

 

What you need to stay warm!

 

1) A Good Winter Jacket 

You should wait until you arrive in Canada before you buy your winter jacket, it might be more expensive than the one you can buy in your home country, but it will be much better suited to the weather over here.  When looking at winter jackets you should check to see that it is well padded, that it covers your neck, and it has a hood.

Winter jackets in Canada are specifically designed for temperatures below 0 degrees.  If you are unsure if a jacket that you are looking at in a store will be suitable for these temperatures, feel free to ask the store clerk.  They will be more than happy to walk you through the various options depending on your needs.  Be warned, there are some brand names out there that cost considerably more than other winter jackets that will protect you from the elements just as well.  Keep an eye out for discounts, and check online for deals before you buy in store to get the best possible deal.

 

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2) Winter shoes

Wearing sneakers or dress shoes in snow or ice can be dangerous as well as very cold.  Even though Canada is generally very good about putting salt down onto the sidewalk after a snow storm or frost, you should be wary of walking outside during the winter if you don’t have the proper foot protection.  By choosing a pair of good quality winter shoes and spending a little more on them, you will see that you save money in the long run.  If you want to get some cheap winter boots to last you through the winter, that is fine too, just don’t expect them to last more than one winter.  When it comes to winter boots, you really do get what you pay for.  

Winter boots do a lot more than provide grip between your feet and the icy and snowy ground.  You can lose a lot of heat through your feet, as the ground is so cold.  Specially designed winter boots have a thick lining that locks the heat in, while still allowing your feet to breath.  A nice thick pair of socks is also very useful for your first winter in Canada as an immigrant.

 

 

3) Winter hat or ‘Toque’

So, you have your winter jacket and your winter shoes, now you need to keep your head warm.  You should get ready to buy your very first toque.  This is a close-fitting knitted hat, often with a tassel or pom-pom on the crown that protects your head from the wind and cold.  Canadians call it a toque, although it goes by many names around the world.  You’ll probably be able to buy one of these from the same store that you get your winter jacket, make sure to get one that covers your ears.  They sell winter hats in all shapes, sizes, and colours.

 

4) Warm gloves and a scarf

Warm gloves are essential for a cold day in Canada.  With temperatures dropping lower than -20 degrees, you need to have gloves that can protect you from the cold if you are spending any time outside.  A scarf or muffler will keep your neck warm, these two small additions to your winter wardrobe can make a huge difference to how comfortable you are in Canada.

5)Winter Travel Mug

If you enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning, then you should really consider this an essential winter accessory.  A winter travel mug is similar to a thermos, only it is designed in such a way that you can comfortably sip from.  Carrying a hot cup of coffee in temperatures below 0 in a regular cup will be cold in a matter of minutes.  A winter travel mug has a thick lining and a lid that you can drink through, allowing you to enjoy your hot beverage outside.

 

 

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