The “Stay Warm” Winter Guide for Canadian Newcomers (Part 1)

Beautiful Asian Family (Winter Portrait)Enjoy all the season has to offer while staying warm

Every new immigrant has to get through it: that first Canadian winter. Temperatures well below freezing, snow blizzards and high winds can all seem daunting — if not downright terrifying — but it doesn’t have to be! Surviving your first winter in Canada can be an exciting, fun and adventurous experience.

The key is to prepare, be educated about safety and staying warm, and take advantage of all the highlights the season has to offer, from sports to events and the beauty that you’ll witness during your first true snowfall.

Part 1 of this series is all about keeping warm. Here is what the whole series will cover:

  1. Keeping warm
  2. Seasonal fun
  3. Staying healthy in cold and flu season
  4. Preparing your home
  5. Preparing your car

Bundle up

When it comes to braving your first Canadian winter, there’s some dressing guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind for you and your family during both milder and colder days. Let’s have a look at the best articles of clothing to wear in winter weather …

Milder temperatures (above zero degrees Celsius) and non-precipitation days



  • a regular winter coat layered over a shirt and light sweater is best
  • mittens or gloves
  • scarf, gloves and hat are optional, but it’s still best to have them on hand in your bag or purse
  • pants or, for women, a longer heavy skirt with thick tights and high boots
  • sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA/UVB rays; even though it is winter, the sun can still be strong
  • warm socks and shoes; women should avoid high heels and open-toed shoes



  • regular winter coat, snowpants and hat, scarf and mittens if they will be playing outside
  • warm pants and a layer of undershirt, light long-sleeve shirt and sweater
  • warm socks and shoes or boots
  • if in a snowsuit, light-layer clothing underneath


Deep-freeze (below zero degrees Celsius), high windshield and storm days



  • warm underwear, including long underwear for men and stockings or tights for women
  • two or three layers of lighter shirts or sweaters, as opposed to one heavy sweater — this is more insular and will keep the heat in
  • warm wool socks
  • a heavy down-filled coat or parka with hood
  • a hat that covers your ears and scarf to cover your face and mouth (to protect your lungs from extreme cold)
  • heavy mittens or gloves; consider layering two pairs
  • knee-high and heavy waterproof boots that are wool or fabric lined


Childrenwinter girl

  • full warm underwear
  • two or three layers of lighter shirts and pants
  • warm wool socks
  • a heavy snowsuit or a heavy down-filled coat/parka and snowpants
  • a hat or balaclava that covers the face, nose and ears
  • a scarf to cover the face and mouth
  • heavy mittens; layer two pairs
  • high, heavy waterproof boots that are wool or fabric lined (consider lining boots with plastic bags under a second pair of socks to keep water out)


See Part 2 “Have fun in the snow” of the “Stay Warm” Winter Guide for Canadian Newcomers here.