How to Dress for a Canadian Winter and Enjoy the Weather

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Quote the Raven: Seham Ali
Health Science with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences

Seham Ali

As we’ve seen in the last few days, winter in Canada can get quite cold. With temperatures reaching -35°C, it’s important to stay warm by dressing appropriately. It can be quite challenging for newcomers to get used to the cold weather. However, the experience can be made more enjoyable if you wear the proper attire. Here are some tips on how to stay warm during these cold months:

Wear layers. Wearing multiple layers, typically three, will help to insulate your body heat and stay warm. Your torso is the most important area to keep warm as your organs are located in this region. Therefore, if your torso is cold, your body will send less blood to your extremities such as your fingers and your toes to allow the warm blood to be concentrated where it is required the most, so be sure to wear more than one layer.

Cover up. Exposed skin will not only make you feel colder but is prone to frostbite. Protect yourself by trying to cover up as much skin as possible!

Choose useful fabric. Some fabrics are not thick enough or do not protect you from the cold wind. Try to choose lined clothing and accessories to help keep you warm. You should also try to avoid cotton, as it is a fabric that does not dry easily and may end up making you feel colder.

Invest in proper outdoor clothing. If you can, invest in good quality outdoor clothing. These typically last for many years and protect you from very cold temperatures, allowing you to reap the benefits of what you paid for.

Winter Layers:

Base Layer
This is the first layer and should be form-fitting. Some individuals use thermal innerwear that helps trap your body heat while others use any long sleeve shirt they own. The type of material or fabric used will depend on your level of activity for the day. If you will be spending a large amount of time outside doing outdoor activities, it will be better to wear a thermal base layer compared to being outside for 15 minutes. It could also depend on the weather. A thicker base layer is needed if it is very cold out, even if you are not outside for long.

Middle Layer
This is typically any regular winter clothing. This can include sweaters, hoodies, flannels or other similar clothing items. For very cold weather, or if you are spending a lot of time outside, it is recommended to opt for clothing that helps to insulate heat, which includes material such as flannel, fleece or wool.

Outer Layer
This is your jacket that protects you from the cold, wind and rain. Having a good quality jacket is important, as it is the main protection against the cold wind and weather.

Accessories
Winter accessories including gloves, mittens, scarfs, toques, socks and others are important in protecting your extremities from the cold. Make sure to choose items that are lined and thick enough to protect against the wind. For socks, it is recommended to have ones made of wool or a wool blend.

Wearing the proper clothing can make winter in Canada an enjoyable experience. By allowing you to spend more time outside and not focus on being cold, warm attire is key to making the most out of these snowy months. So, be sure to stay layered and enjoy the experience.

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