Thursday, November 14th, 2019...6:04 pm

Get a Hold on Winter!

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Last week I posted a poll on the Gradlife facebook page asking what kind of things you’d like to see on the Gradlife Blog: helpful campus resources, or fun/interesting things to do around Toronto. We ended up with a 50/50 split! So in the spirit of compromise, I thought I would tackle an obvious subject we are all dealing with right now, while touching on both of these topics, and that subject? Winter.

Maybe this this is your first winter in Canada but even if it isn’t, it may not be something you’re used to. Geez, even though I have lived in Canada my whole life, I still feel the shock of winter when it arrives each year. It is an adjustment, both mentally and physically. With this in mind I did some investigating into some ways that UofT provides help adjusting to winter, resources for this time of year on campus as well as things happening in T.O to help you embrace and hopefully enjoy winter!

U of T Winter Resources

Centre for International Experience – Learning to Love Winter

The CIE is hosting a winter workshop to discuss proper winter clothing, staying healthy and warm, exciting winter events, and more! If you’re not used to winter and have questions this event is for you! Register for the Nov. 26 session on CLNx.


Take advantage of U of T ‘s athletic facility through the Drop-In skating schedule. See dates and times here where you can practice and bring your family for free!

Hot Winter Drinks

Warm up by grabbing a hot drink on campus. You can use TBucks loaded on your TCard at these locations on campus.  The U of T Food Services’ drink of the month is a Campfire S’mores Latte! (yuummm!?!?)

Graduate Writing Groups

Right now there are lots of different assignments and work.  On each weekend in November and December,  graduate writing groups are held in the Grad Room (66 Harbourd Street). These are FREE groups that provides a space to write in a supportive environment. They can help to keep you accountable and also connect with other graduate students who may be working on similar projects. To share tips and get writing, visit the Gradlife Events calendar for group meeting dates and times. Registration is required. To register, contact Grad Writing Group, Academic Success at

Winter in Toronto

Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District

Toronto Christmas Market

One of Toronto’s most popular holiday attractions is the Distillery District Christmas Market, with lots of exhibits, food, treats, shops and more. Best of all, it is FREE (on weekdays & Friday before 6pm).

If you’re looking for a group to go with, the U of T First Nations House is organizing a visit to the market November 22. You can join by going to the First Nations House Lounge around 2:30pm for some cookies and hot coco, then the group will head over from here via TTC around 3pm. To learn more about this event you can check out their facebook event.

Cineplex Free Holiday Movie Day – December 7th


Grab a free holiday movie December 7th as part of Cineplex’s Community Day. Proceeds from popcorn, drink and candy sales all go to the Boys and Girls Club of Canada. Definitely a win win! To find participating theatres and see the movie selection here.

Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

Credit: Nathan Phillips Square Facebook page

You can grab your skates, or rent them for a small fee at the rink and skate down in front of Toronto’s City Hall ! There are change rooms, snack bars and lots of sparkling lights. Check out the schedule here. The rink is set to open November 30 2019!

Another rink opening this year is going to be on Front Street outside of Union Station. Skaters of all levels can get a free helmet, skates and skating lessons. 

Ontario Place Winter Lights Festival

Starting November 23rd, the West Island of Ontario Place will feature the Winter Light Exhibition, free public skating on a synthetic rink and community bonfires. As of the 23rd it will be open daily 5am – 12am. Bundle up, grab some friends and a hot chocolate and explore the creativity and innovation of 18 light exhibits that shape, transmit, reflect or contain light, created by artists from across Ontario. For more see their website.

I hope that these resources help you to manage the demands of winter time while also finding some fun at the same time. If I have missed anything either on or off campus, help your fellow grad student out and let us know in the comments below.

Hoping that this transition to winter is a smooth one for you, only a few more weeks until the winter break – we can do it!

Talk soon,


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