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Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts

03 November 2016

What Is It Like Living With Changing Temperatures in Canada

Wintertime in Toronto, took this photo while waiting for my wife at Esso gas station.
Let me tell you about what it’s like living in Canada, a country that has 4 seasons, which is spring, summer, fall and winter.

In my entire life, I haven’t had a chance to experience winter. Although I’ve been to Japan but it was the last few weeks of summer. In Philippines, I had visited Baguio, a place with temperatures that can go down 18oC to 10 oC.

But for negative temperatures, I’ve never been to that place at all until Canada.

For newcomers, living in tropical countries in their entire lives, this post will be helpful for you.  It's my way to teach you how to cope up with cold climates.

It's starts with a proper clothing.

Layering of Winter Clothing
Upper Clothing
Layering of clothing is essential during winter. On my first experience of the season, I wore four layers of upper clothing.  

  • 1st layer - Tropical shirt (cotton)
  • 2nd layer - Thick sweater
  • 3rd layer - Sweater with hood
  • 4th layer - Thick winter coat
The sweater with hood was added as the third layer because the winter coat that I used has no hood.

  • If winter coat has no head cover, the cold wind will penetrate our scalp and will easily bring down our body temperature.
Lower Clothing
I wore fleece pants under my corduroy pants.  Corduroy insulates my lower body better than denim jeans.  Denim jeans is my next choice, but it is not a good insulator.  Once it gets cold, it seems like it'll trap the cold air in it's fibers.  So I prefer corduroy than denim.

I got an underpants from SM Bicutan Department Store thinking that it can insulate me well.  It's labelled "Warm Pants".  When I tried it in Canada, it failed.  I still can feel the cold, so wearing it is useless.

Tip: Only buy your body insulators in Canada. Body insulation experts were born here, you know!

For the footwear, I wore one thick socks under my waterproof shoes.  It is essential to have a water-proof shoes to avoid melted snow soaking your feet.  That will be freezing.

This Merrell waterproof shoes helped me a lot.  I invested $150 for this shoes and still using it.
Thick gloves is also important.  If you wear nothing, your hands will numb with cold.  Sometimes, you'll get a cut from somewhere and you'll never notice.

Tip: Invest in good footwear and gloves.

At this getup, I can now go out and feel the cold winter season of Toronto.  My tropical body wasn't get used to having this temperature so I shiver all the time even with these layers.  

Temperatures in Toronto can reach up to minus -20 oC.  It can last up to 2 to 3 days and it goes back to minus -10 oC.

At the start of the winter, the temperature will gradually drop from 8 oC to 3 oC . In December, it start to have flurries and temperature may be at around 1 oC to minus -3degC. 

January will start to have snowfalls and cold 100km/hr wind.  

I remembered waiting for a bus and a 100km/hr++ wind was trying to blow me off while holding the bus stop pole.   If that situation was in the Philippines, it would probably be a signal #2 storm.

What You Will See On the Roads?
Cars will travel slower and you can see steam on the mufflers.  You've seen this on TV...

Snow plowing trucks will be around.  They come in different sizes, small ones are like the size of golf carts and large ones similar to bulldozers.  In wide roads like expressways, they plow side by side with each other running 90km/hr.

This little guy is totally insulated with a cute Siberian Husky head gear. :D
How it feels like Winter?
If I were to go back in the days when I was preparing for our move to Canada, I should have practiced my brain on how to cope up with winter.

You're lucky you found this post because I'll teach you how to practice your mind and body to feel the winter while you're in a tropical place.

After reading this blog, do the following to teach your mind about cold.

  • Go to your refrigerator or to a store.  
  • Get a pack of ice and pour it all in a pail. 
  • Add a small amount of water to it until the ice floats.
  • If you have an air-conditioned room, set it at the lowest temperature possible and only wear thin t-shirt and shorts. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes.  
  • Then, soak your hands in the pail of ice and water until you can’t feel anything.  All fingers will feel numb at that moment.
That's what it feels like at sub zero temperatures.

Tip: Do this regularly to prepare yourself for the cold especially if you’re immigrating in winter.

That’s how cold a minus one (-1) oC temperature is.  Just imagine the temperatures lower than that.

If you need other information about the weather in Canada and how and what to wear, send me an email at or

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26 December 2014

Going to Work During Winter in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada

Finding a job in Canada is not a problem for me as I got a job 5 days after landing.  New immigrants like me usually don't have cars to use for the first few months and maybe years.  It's because we have other priorities for our money like renting or buying a house, food, having a contact number, etc...

For me, car is the least priority as of the moment. Bus and subway transportation system in Toronto is efficient as in Singapore.  There are few unfavorable moments but it's because of the nasty weather.

Everyday, I had to take two buses and walk 500 meters to work.  This is not a problem if the weather is fine because I also love walking as part of my daily exercise.  The problem is when the weather is bad, like winter time.

Walking at the Snowy Walkway
It wastes 10 minutes, for me, just to prepare my clothes and wearing it in layers, including the shoes.  Time consumed for this process should be considered during this type of weather condition.

I have to make sure that I'll be just in time at the bus stop so I won't wait too long  and end up chilling my nose. There is an app for mobile phones that I can recommend to avoid this dilemma, but I'll make another post for that later on.

Once I'm inside the bus, I still feel cold even the bus heating system is working as it takes time for my body to adjust.  So, I don't remove my jackets, gloves and head covers inside the vehicle.

My work site is 500 meters away from the bus stop so I have to walk through the snowy walkway. It's a good sight to see if you feel warm inside your jacket.  The white snow looks great and the grainy snow is fun to touch.

This is how it looks when I reported for work few days ago.

At a normal non-snowy day, you can see the pathway, but this time it's all under the snow. The air temperature is at -4degC during this time but the windchill is around -10degC.

This is really cold, freezing the tip of my nose and fingers and you can feel the numbness specially at your fingertips.  I'll share you my winter gear at my next post so you can have a better view of what to wear during this nasty weather.

They said that -10degC is still not harsh in Toronto.  Wait until I experience the -20 degC....

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Ben Alagnam - MeMovingToCanada