Winter is coming! Now that Toronto is covered in snow, I’m pulling out all my winter gear. When I first moved here from Vancouver, I had no idea what to buy for the Toronto winter. In Vancouver, it’s perpetually rainy and barely drops below zero degrees, so my Vancouver apparel was totally incapable of dealing with the intense Toronto winters. Here’s a couple things I’ve found super necessary to survive!
A good winter jacket.
This seems obvious, but it’s so necessary! Make sure you get something that’s made for the intense winter, and preferably something that reaches your knees- a longer jacket will always keep you warmer. In my first year I got a jacket from Uniqlo, which was a great place for getting affordable but still good quality winter wear.
In my later years I’ve opted for a more stylish winter option- I now wear a down winter vest under a heavy wool jacket. I find this combination keeps me warm enough and allows me to wear more fashionable jackets- but if you go for this option, don’t skip the down vest! It’s a must.
Layering your jackets with warm sweaters is also super important. I have a couple of fleeces which I bought from Value Village for less than ten dollars which I always throw on if it’s getting cold. I also found that wearing a pair of warm wool tights underneath my jeans is amazing for insulating my body and preventing chills when it drops into the double negatives.
Interestingly, I found that buying intense snow boots wasn’t necessary in Toronto. If you’re mostly going to stay downtown, the streets will already be relatively cleared of snow. So, for winter boots I wear my Doc Martins or another pair of waterproof leather boots and make sure to pair them with warm wool socks. So, look for something that’s waterproof and can keep your feet warm, but you don’t have to invest a huge amount of money in a proper pair of snow boots.
Accessories are key.
Ultimately, when Toronto gets super cold (think -20 degrees C) I find that the winter accessories I’m wearing are most important for keeping me warm. So, I never leave the house without mittens, a hat, and a scarf. Winter in Toronto is especially bad when it gets windy— wind chill can drop the temperature multiple degrees, in addition to chafing your skin. I purchased a balaclava made to protect your face while biking- this is great for wearing on my face to protect against cold Toronto winds. Alternatively, wrapping a scarf around your face is another good option.
Good luck with surviving the winter, U of T students! What’s your number one trick for winter dressing?