The frigid air hits my ribs through my fall coat. My hands cannot survive outside of my pockets for more than a few minutes. Winter is coming, and in Toronto that means spending half of your day putting on and taking off winter clothing.
A few things to note about good old Canadian winters:
- When I say cold, I mean it’s so cold that I feel it in my bones. The
“if I wasn’t wearing a hat, my ears would probably fall off” type of cold that makes everything go slower.
- Daylight is limited and my socks are constantly wet.
- Walking on ice to get to class should be considered a sport. It really is every person for themselves out here.
- I am scared.
Going to school downtown, I can’t drive everywhere like I did back home. Even if I had a car, parking alone would be enough to stop me from driving around campus, not to mention the environmental concerns associated with driving everywhere.
Unfortunately, the TTC only takes me so far when it comes to trying to stay warm. So I usually walk the 1 km to school. This arduous journey has forced me to formulate a new lifestyle in the winter. Check in later for my complete winter routine. For now, I’m going to outline what I do to ensure survival during the upcoming months.
This is the most important step. To make sure I keep all of my fingers and toes intact during the cruel Canadian winter, I plan my walks around campus so that I can go through as many buildings as possible. This means less time facing Mother Nature and her frosty blows.
For example, say I get off the TTC at St. George and have class at Univeristy College. I would walk through the Woodsworth Residence building to get to the Woodsworth College building. I exit the Woodsworth college building and find myself close to the Rotman Commerce area. I walk in, and take the exit that is nearest to Hoskin Ave. This way I can give my body a break from the cold.
A good winter wardrobe is key to maintaining my sanity between November and February. The following is a non-exhaustive list of my cold weather must-haves:
- Socks! Layer them
- Mittens and gloves
- Turtlenecks for layering
- Water bottles
- Warm winter coat
- Slip-resistant boots
Gearing up in the morning can take up to 20 minutes, but being warm is totally worth it.
The shorter days and quiet nights sometimes give me an eerie feeling. I have friends that experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter due to a lack of sunlight. Robarts now has lamps that are said to help mitigate the impacts of SAD, which can be used in the library.
It becomes difficult to socialize during the winter. A lot of my friends are too cold or too busy to hang out. So it’s important for me to continue participating on campus. With the nature of school, the seemingly never ending midterms, and the fact that my close friends live in different parts of the city, going to club meetings is my go-to to stay connected to the university community.