How To Survive Winter in Toronto - Real Life Hacks


Susan Hodges

Practical advice to survive your first Ontario winter

How to Survive Winter in Toronto – Real Life Hacks

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with winter in Ontario.  Having lived away for 16 years I often dreamed of being home in the winter to go tobogganing and to play in the snow with my children.  Once we returned and had our first snow fall I very quickly remembered the not-so-fun tasks of brushing off the car and shovelling the driveway!


I thought I would take this opportunity to provide some real-life hacks for learning to enjoy winter, and some practical advice for getting through the tough parts.


Dress for the weather.  As the Alfred Wainwright saying goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”  Plan ahead so that you are prepared with outdoor gear before the winter weather arrives.  Stores such as Sporting Life, MEC, Sport Chek and Costco have snow suits, hats, mitts/gloves, scarves and boots but often sell out early.


Having warm feet is key to keeping everything warm in winter!  Buy quality lined winter boots that are ideally water-proof, particularly for children.  Boots can be expensive but if there is any gear to spend a little extra on it would be boots and gloves.


With temperature and winter conditions constantly changing it is important to layer clothing so that you can add or take off a layer if you are finding you are too warm, or cold. Look for fabrics that are warm and breathable such as wool or blends for base layers, but also down and water resistant for top layers.  For more information about layering and what to look for in a jacket check out this article by REI.


Remember, this is a lot of gear – if you have children have them go to the bathroom before getting into their snow suits, and give yourself a few extra minutes to get out the door.


Snow removal If you live in a house, check with your city to find out if you are responsible for sidewalk snow removal, and how quickly after a snow fall it must be completed. You will want to purchase a shovel or snow blower to remove snow from your walkway and driveway from your local hardware store.


Now get out and embrace the snow!  Winter can cold but beautiful – often the cold temperatures bring blue sky, sun and that all important vitamin D!  Get out for a walk on the trails, or in your local park.  If you have children checkout the best places to go tobogganing in Toronto.  Cities all over southern Ontario have indoor and outdoor skating rinks for recreational ice skating and hockey.  Equipment such as helmets and skates can be rent or purchase used or new, check out Canadian Tire or Play it Again Sports for more information.


If you are looking for a day trip or weekend getaway consider heading to Collingwood which comes alive in the winter with skiing, snow tubing, skating trails, and hiking. Small towns worth visiting any time of year but are particularly thriving in the winter include Collingwood (located on the edge of Lake Huron),Thornbury, Creemore and Orangeville.


If the outdoors isn’t your thing, or you’ve had enough of the cold, the city offers many great indoor activities in winter.  Toronto’s Winterlicious takes place over at two week period mid-winter. The program offers prix fixe lunch and dinner menus from 220+ local restaurants around the city.  Take this time to consider visiting the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the Science Center, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), or visit a city pool for a recreational swim.


The winter can feel long but get out and enjoy before spring’s arrival and the start of maple syrup season!


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