Are you arriving to Canada this winter? This post contains tips on dressing for Canada’s colder months (generally November-March). In addition to its beauty, Canada’s winter offers the newcomer countless adventures: skating the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, snowshoeing near the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, and gazing at the ice sculptures of Québec City’s Carnaval, to name a few. Dressing for the cold is essential for enjoying these authentic Canadian experiences. Here is a must-have list of winter attire to keep the cold at bay:
Winter boots: I cannot stress enough the importance of having a good pair of winter boots. While I am usually a very thrifty shopper, I recommend spending a few extra dollars for quality boots. Some criteria to look for in a good pair: warm, tall, big enough to wear over thick socks, and waterproof.
Mittens/Gloves: Choosing between gloves (with a space for each finger) and mittens (where your fingers are together and your thumb is separate) is a matter of preference and functionality. If you are performing movement that requires dexterity, gloves might improve your grip. However, separating the fingers generally makes them colder.
Hat/Toque: Make sure your hat is well-lined and wind-proof. While all hats should protect at least part of your ears, the best option is one with ear-flaps that cover your ears entirely. The ears are most prone to frost-bite.
Winter coat: Choose a coat with fleece or felt lining and a wind-proof exterior. You might opt for a down-coat, which is very thick and puffy, with a synthetic exterior. While real goose down is the warmest, there are also less expensive man-made options. Longer coats are better, providing extra cover for your legs and preventing wind and snow from reaching your midriff. Most winter coats come with a hood that you can pull over your head. Pockets are also brilliant for keeping your hands warm.
Long johns: Long underwear or thick tights provide an extra base-layer for your legs. They can be worn under snow-pants or loose-fitting jeans.
Scarf/Neck Warmer: a thick wool scarf or fleece neck-warmer can be wrapped in such a way that not only protects the neck, but also the bottom-half of the face. Be sure to keep the material away from your nose, as moisture from your breath will collect and freeze on it.
Earmuffs: If a hat is not suitable for your chosen hairstyle, earmuffs will keep your ears warm. They are padded cushions that wrap around either the back of your head, or the top of your head, depending on the style.
Sweaters: It is a good idea to have at least two thick sweaters for the winter, to be worn as a top layer over a long-sleeved t-shirt.
Thick socks: Under a good pair of boots, thick wool socks will keep your feet cozy and dry. Some wool is scratchy and can irritate sensitive skin: be sure to test the material on your hand.
Snow pants: For those who play in the snow or for those who must shovel the snow (not such a fun activity!) snow pants are a good idea. This attire is waterproof and windproof and usually lined with fleece or felt. You can wear snow pants over your regular pants, or over a pair of long johns.
Dressing for the cold is all about function over fashion, and sometimes it can feel like a chore. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying the outdoors! There is so much to enjoy about winter, and with good preparation I think anyone could fall in love with the cooler temperatures. Visit mycanadaplan.com to learn more about how to prepare for Canada.