Moving to Canada? Tips to Survive the Cold!

If the thought of those freezing, snowy, icy winters are putting you off moving to Canada, know that Canada does winter perfectly.  It may take some time getting used to going outside when the temperature is -30°C, feeling more like -40°C, but with some thought and planning survival is guaranteed!

How to Dress
Layer, layer, layer.  That’s the key to staying warm.  Wear two or three light tops rather than one heavy jumper.  Maybe a T-shirt, under a long-sleeved shirt/blouse with a light jumper on top.  The warm air gets trapped between the layers and is much more effective than one heavy jumper.  Thermal underwear is great if you are going to spend hours outside but if you are going to sit in an office all day, you’ll roast.  Remember cotton clothing is not suitable for cold weather, rather go for polyester or wool.

Invest in a down-filled coat and finish off with a hat, scarf and gloves.  Keep the scarf wrapped around your mouth and nose, so you don’t inhale that freezing air into your lungs.  Now for the feet.  Buy some good, thick woollen socks and good quality fleece lined boots with soles and grip.

How to Prepare your Home for the Winter Weather

  • The recommended temperature for the winter months is 20°C to 21°C during the day and 18°C at night.
  • Put weather strip around doors, windows, fireplaces, air conditioners, attic doors – in fact anywhere where there’s a possible draft.  Not only will it keep in the heat, you will save on the heating bills.
  • Change the furnace filter every month to ensure its working well.
  • Insulate your roof, if you have one.
  • Insulate the attic.
  • Insulate all water pipes.
  • Close all outside taps.

Stay Fit and Healthy
It’s so easy to hibernate during the Canadian winter but exercise is an essential part of keeping those colds and flu at bay.  There are plenty of gyms to join and, of course, you can always work out to your favourite DVD.  Winter sports are another great way to stay fit.  Join your new Canadian friends and try cross-country skiing, skating or tobogganing. Eat a good, balanced diet and stock up on the Vitamin C supplements and eat lots of vitamin C rich foods such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach and oranges.

Don’t Forget the Pets

  • Watch your pet carefully when you go outdoors, some animals have a greater tolerance to the cold than others.  A German shepherd will fare better than a Chihuahua in icy climes.  Buy them a warm coat to wear outside, even if they initially object.
  • If the weather is really cold, keep your dogs and cats inside.  They can also get hypothermia.
  • Check their paws during and after a walk.  Watch for a possible build-up of ice between their toes and/or cracked or bleeding paw pads.
  • If you live in a city, wipe your dog thoroughly when you get home.  The roads and pavements are full of salt, grit, antifreeze and various de-icers.

The Car

  • Keep everything topped up, especially the antifreeze.
  • Spray your windows with a 3:1 mixture of vinegar and water to stop them from freezing up.  Saves a lot of time, especially when you are late for work in the morning.
  • Ensure the oil you’re using is suitable for extreme cold.
  • If you live in icy places like Manitoba, invest in a block heater.
  • Keep a bag of cat litter in the car to spread under the tyres, to give them traction on an icy driveway or road.
  • Keep an emergency kit in the car containing emergency blankets, tyre pump, food and water, torch, booster cables, battery powered radio, spare batteries and first aid kit.

The Final Word
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast on a regular basis, things can change very quickly!

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