I wanted to pen down my experiences of landing in Canada in a proper coherent fashion. What better medium other than medium, and here I am. Since these experiences are ongoing, this blog shall be recurring series. I hope this shall serve as a guide for newcomers and memory roster for myself in the future.
For a country that is fully situated above the equator and more close to the artic circle, it is common knowledge, that it would be cold. Yes Canada is cold and loads of snow fall during winter. Winter is of approximately 4–5 months, but it feels like so long, since all of the population are waiting for the summer to begin. Someone rightly said, it is 90 days of hell, and I would argue about the 90 days part. Homes are heated to the right temperature, buses are heated, and malls are heated. So it is absolute happiness watching snow fall in -10 degree C from your 20 degree C heated balcony.
All people dress in layers. You need to dress right with a winter jacket, something that is designed to withstand minus temperature. Jackets are heavy, and invest in one good one, for you would be wearing it for long time. Thermals as top and bottom are must, and then you can have winter boots if you are a walker. If you are a car person, normal sports shoes would be good. Walking in sports shoes on roads, bus stops, and walkways during winter is crazy. All the snow is not cleared in the walkways, and icy surface gives you slippery nightmares. Road Salt is only applied near malls, shops and apartments and not in entirety, so always be careful if you are walking in winter.
Always make sure to check your weather app before venturing out. Make sure to check the actual temperature and feels like as well. Feels like is more important than the number on the scale. Check hourly variations as weather throws some nasty surprises. Avoid outdoors unless it is absolutely necessary in -10 C feels like. Driving in cars in any temperature is okay, as you are in heated environment. If you are driving, make sure to check for snow conditions, and your winter tires.
Buses are heated, bus shelters are not. Transit station shelters are heated to some extent but cannot fully rely upon. Someone said, bus shelters in Canada are heated as shelters in Dubai are airconditioned. I am not sure about the Dubai part, but not in Canada. When you are walking in pavements, make sure to walk slowly, and if it is snowing heavily venture inside a mall/shop and wait it out. Hail a cab, 20 CAD is worth far less than your fever or life.
There is something called windchill that is more dangerous than the temperature. Sometimes, temperature would be -10, but it would feel like normal. But sometimes, temp would be -1 but windchill would be too powerful, making walking injurious to health. Weather app is your best buddy here in Canada. Do not get excited when there is a plus C, as previous snow would be slowly melting, giving you lessons in winter skating. Snow is only cleared in roads, and not in walkways or pavements. During snowy days, many buses get breakdown and are not repaired until you miss your schedules. So be prepared for alternate modes of transport.
Your room is heated, and bus is heated but roads are not, so make sure to dress to withstand. It is absolutely okay to dress in a heavy winter jacket and not feel the cold, than to dress less and feel the wind in your heart. Winter gloves, skull caps, ear mufflers are mandatory clothing equipment. You cannot carry any of your grocery in winter without the gloves. Always carry a water bottle when you are outside your home. Snow, snow everywhere but not a water to drink.
Winter does make sure to work your body mechanism. You urinate a lot, you drink water or not, since you do not sweat here. Make sure to use the available restrooms as and when they are available. They are available rarely, so make sure to use them. Hydrate responsibly.
Winter is the harshest season to face here in Toronto, Summer should be a breeze and I hope so. I would be detailing the experience of the same, when it arrives. Do not remove your gloves, or jacket and forget it. You cannot escape the cold nor the taxes. Masking during COVID does help to prevent your nose from overexposure. Make sure to mask in to avoid direct attack of cold. Do not indulge in bare hand digging into snow. Some stupid tiktok videos, do that, but they make sure to do it with gloves, and we do not know the aftermath.
Do not try to ape others who might be without a winter jacket or without a headscarf. We never know how long they have been in Canada. It takes some time to acclimatize to this winter. Also make sure to moisturize yourself for you would be left with dry skin during winter. Lip balms are more essential than lipstick.
Happy and Safe Winter folks ….