Preparing International Students for a Canadian Winter!

It’s that time of year again! Temperatures are dropping and you need to start wearing warmer clothes. A lot of students are dreading the colder months, however if you dress appropriately and participate in winter activities, you can embrace the season with a positive attitude. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for a Canadian winter!


Winter clothes: the most important piece of clothing you need is a good winter jacket. These can be expensive, which is why many of my students find a cheaper alternative. But if you don’t buy a good quality jacket, you will freeze all winter. The warmest coat you can find is down-filled. If you don’t like the style of these coats, wool coats are also a good alternative. You can find this information on the label of every jacket. Prepare to spend around $100+. You can find good options at The Bay, Sears (big closing sales at Eaton Centre’s Sears right now!), Winners, Zara, Aritzia, and MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op). Some of these stores have multiple locations, so you can Google to find the address most convenient for you.


Once you have a good winter jacket, you will also need a hat, scarf and gloves. These can be found at the same stores I mentioned above or even at the dollar store. If you are planning on doing winter activities consider long underwear. Long underwear are layers you wear under your clothes to keep warm in very cold conditions.

As for shoes, waterproof winter boots are a good idea if you plan on leaving the city where there is more snow, but if you have shoes with a good grip on the bottom, you should be fine in the city. Toronto and Vancouver don’t get very much snow and when it does snow; the city clears roads and walkways quickly.

Winter Activities: Once you are all bundled up, it’s time to enjoy some fresh air and experience the many activities available in and around the city.

tubing2Tobogganing/Tubing – this is a plastic or metal sled that you sit on and it carries you down a hill. This can be very fun if you race your friends to the bottom. It is illegal in some parks so be careful where you choose to go. Christie Pits, Trinity Bellwoods, High Park, and Riverdale Park are all fun places to toboggan in Toronto. As for Vancouver, there are many tobogganing hills to choose from!

ILAC students experience their first time on skates!

Skating – there are plenty of indoor and outdoor skating rinks. Most of these places include skate rentals as well. For a full list of ice rinks click Vancouver Rinks or Toronto Rinks. Some of the most popular choices for students are Nathan Phillips Square and the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and Robson Square and Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. If you really enjoy skating, it’s better value to buy a cheap pair of skates from Canadian Tire. You can pick up a pair for under $40.

skiing1Skiing/Snowboarding – this activity can be a little expensive (approximately $85) but is offered through the ILAC activities department and is a must for anyone who hasn’t participated before.

Dog-sledding – this activity is very cool. Although pricey ($125+) it’s a once in a lifetime experience. You are standing on a sled while 6-8 dogs are pulling you along. You get to enjoy the beautiful nature surrounding you and get to control how fast or slow the dogs run. There are many companies which offer this service, but one I highly recommend is Try That, located north of the city in a town called Orillia, an hour from Toronto and easily accessible by transportation. Vancouver has awesome dog sledding up in Whistler.

So have fun this winter and most importantly try to keep warm!

Erin Casper

Editing and Photos by Alisha Sevigny

Pictures are all of ILAC Students having a great time!

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