Maybe not having to shovel my driveway every week or change to snow tires and drive through a snowstorm keeps me blissfully unaware through the long Canadian winter, but I like to think there’s more to it than that. I mean, when you relocate from a consistent temperature between 25 to 35 degrees through the year, -20 degrees isn’t always too friendly even if you try to mentally prepare yourself for it.
Although I must admit that the magic of that first snowfall and the infectious holiday spirit at the start of winter kept me starry-eyed through all five months of it. I’ve listed a few things that helped me get through my first Canadian winter (December 2016) and hopefully you find it helpful this year too!
The Toronto Christmas Market
Whether the lights and the pop-up markets keep you in good spirits until the holidays or long after, it’s worth checking it out to set the tone of optimism high. One of the coldest evenings of December 2016 for me was exploring the Toronto Christmas Market at the historic Distillery District – from hot chocolate to mulled wine and tornado potatoes to turkey legs, the beautifully lit cobblestone streets lined with pop-up stalls offer a little something for everyone. Be sure to stop by before it ends if you want to lift your spirits.
Exploring the city of Toronto
My holiday miracle last year was a surprise visit from my sister! There was so much of the city that I hadn’t seen and wanted to experience with her, but it felt like I had no time. Someone suggested buying a Toronto City Pass and it was one of the best decisions. We experienced Casa Loma in all its holiday splendour, saw all the arctic animals at the zoo that are otherwise sleeping or not around, and of course the iconic CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and the exquisite Chihuly exhibit at the R.O.M.
If you feel like you’ve been here forever and have seen it all, I’d recommend 150 years of Canadian Christmas at Casa Loma like you’ve never seen before or tickets to the National Ballet of Canada’s Nutcracker to really set the mood this winter.
Embrace it and have some fun
What amazes me is even though in the middle of January we’re already craving the heat of a warm summer’s day, there is so much to do in winter. There’s ski trips at Blue Mountain, ice rinks all over the city, and yes even some curling. What I’m looking forward to the most, however, is building a snowman. Do you remember being a child and running in the snow, building a snowman and endless snowball fights? Well, the first and last time I did that was last year, and I can’t wait to be childlike and play in the snow again.
Stay warm and cozy
If none of this seems like it’s for you and if you’re content being jaded about the bitter cold of winter – that’s ok too. We all long for those weekends where we just bundle up with reading socks, a great book and a hot cup of something hot. My new favourite is hot cider that I recreate from store bought ingredients with just two easy steps – add this apple and cinnamon spiced tea bag to this unsweetened Giffen Orchard cider and heat it in a microwave for two minutes. It tastes like a hug in a cup and that’s definitely something that could comfort you all through the long winter.
How do you like to spend time in the winter?