My fellow international students:
In the coming months, you are going to embark on one of the most exciting — and altogether terrifying journeys of your life — your first great Canadian winter! And while my title may leave you a bit skeptical, bear with me. If I — a sun loving kid, born and raised for 18 years in the Caribbean — can learn to love winter, you most certainly can, too. This coming winter will be my fifth in Toronto and while I’m no veteran, I have picked up a few key things that you need too if you want to have any chance of really loving winter.
The first step to loving winter is to accept that it is inevitable. It’s not everyone’s favourite season and most people, especially Torontonians I’ve found, choose to deny its existence, writing off those months and focusing on the summer ahead. But winter is coming whether you like it or not, and it’s here to stay for at least four months of the year. So don’t give the winter season the cold shoulder, it has more to offer than you think!
Keep Warm, Stay Healthy
Probably the only thing that can make the cold and dark days of winter any harder to love, is being sick. Make sure to follow Mom’s orders and get lots of vitamins in your system every day. I get that as a student you don’t always have the time, or cash, to stock up on strawberries and oranges, so pop a chewable vitamin every morning and night. It makes all the difference. And get your flu shot!
There’s no end to the number of fun things to do outside in the winter. Tobogganing, sledding, snowball fighting, snow angels, snowman building, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating. Okay I’ll admit, that’s a lot of snow, but ’tis the season, and better yet most of these activities can be had on or around campus for little to no money at all.
Go Ice Skating with some friends at Nathan Philips Square for just the price of skate rentals, or pick up a sled at Canadian Tire for under $5 and hit the slopes around Campus. My personal favourite is the thrilling ride at Winston Churchill Park. Or join one of U of T’s winter based clubs like the Ski and Snowboard club, to get discounted rates at Toronto’s Blue Mountain.
Partake in the Festivities
Whether you celebrate one of the many holidays around the wintertime or not, there’s always a sense of joy and celebration that circulates around the New Year, and there are a host of ways for you to embrace the season.
In the weeks of December before the holiday break, Hart House hosts an Annual Winter Buffet in the Great Hall and the Woodsworth College Students’ Association offers a semi-formal holiday Red Party. And in January, the St. George Round Table hosts winter’s answer to frosh week with five days of fun-filled activities called Winterfest, starting on Tuesday, the tenth. Here’s a quick video to get you excited!