Canada in winter is cold. It does not matter where. From Halifax to Vancouver and from the Arctic to the Great Lakes, there will surely be snow. But in such a large country (the second largest in the world) it is logical that there are differences. Pacific cities tend to be less cold and with less thermal amplitude. The northern islands are freezing almost all year. In cities well within the continent, the thermal sensation can reach below -20 ° C. But don’t panic: our experience was not as terrible as we expected.
My Toronto Experience
Toronto welcomed us without snow, although with average temperatures of -10 ° C. Already in Quebec we find a cold and white landscape that seemed endless, and with temperatures close to -20 ° C. Although we expected Quebec to be the coldest city during our trip to Canada, we experienced the lowest thermal sensation in Montreal: -25 ° C!
Acclimatizing was not easy, but we were surprised to have gotten used to the cold relatively quickly. The first day of the trip we were walking through Toronto with about -6 ° C and we kept shaking. We went out with a hat, scarf and gloves. For the second week of the trip, however, -6 ° C was no longer so cold, to the point of being without gloves or a hat and not having a bad time. But take that fact with tweezers: each body is different and I, in general, am not a person suffering from the cold.
But cold or not, in Canada it is very cold and you have to take it seriously. After a few days in Canada, we learned to tolerate the temperature, enjoy the outdoors, and dress accordingly. After all, if it were so terrible, people would not make their lives normally (and believe me that, for the most part, the cold does not prevent them from running, going out at night, or walking).
How To Dress For The Canadian Winter
The key is dressing in layers. You will be entering and leaving heated places continuously, to the point that there may be a difference of 30 ° C between outside and inside. I recommend you buy a thermal shirt to use on a common shirt, with that you will be well indoors. To the outside, add a diver or jacket and a jacket that resists low temperatures.
Thermal underwear clearly is also very helpful. Personally, I didn’t need it until the temperature reached -20 ° C. Before he bought it, he faced the cold wearing a pair of pants over the other, but it goes without saying that it is not the most comfortable outfit to move around.
As for the brands, I only had a winter jacket from a classic snowwear brand. The rest of my clothes were common (except for the thermal shirt), literally bought in an outlet in Villa Domínico (a suburb of Buenos Aires). However, I did take advantage of buying thermal underwear, which is not cheap but, as I said, it becomes a necessity near -20 ° C.
Advantages of Traveling To Canada In Winter
At the end of January and beginning of February winter carnivals take place. More than anything in the province of Quebec. This makes organizing events (usually on weekends) suitable for the whole family, with competitions, games, live music and lots of food. We went through the celebration at the Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal and everything could be described as a true winter wonderland.
Winter is low season for tourism in Canada so not finding so many people in the main attractions and museums of Toronto and Montreal was a point in favor of traveling to Canada in winter. On the other hand, the carnival weekend in Quebec City is an event that makes finding cheap accommodation on those dates complicated. It was hard for us to get a good hostel by booking three months before the trip, just because it was carnival dates.
Another point in favor of winter was seeing Montmorency Falls practically frozen! They are one of the main natural attractions of Quebec with a different landscape in each season. In addition to this park, Canada is full of natural scenery suitable for winter enjoyment.