How to Survive Winter in Toronto
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.




How to Survive Winter in Toronto

Oh god, it's that time of year again.

Relief Line is your not-so-serious glance at the city we love.


It’s that time of year again. Denim jackets are giving way to heavy overcoats, long johns are replacing normal-sized johns, and pumpkin-spice is being phased out for peppermint mocha. It may not be official yet, but we all know what’s going on. Winter is coming. And according to Environment Canada, 2017 is going to be another cold one.

Luckily, Torontoist has put together a survival guide to help you out. Now you will know exactly what to expect in the coming months and how best to survive until the sweet relief of patio season.


What to Expect:

  • It does get a bit chilly in December, but don’t worry that just means you can wear fun sweaters, sip hot cocoa, and say things like, “I love winter, it’s so cozy!”
    There will be lots of snow, which is great because it means it’s going to be a White Christmas!
  • Look out for seasonally-inspired hot beverages served in one of Starbucks’s non-denominational “holiday” coffee cups! Delicious!
  • And don’t forget about skating at City Hall! So much fun!

How to survive December:

It might be winter, but you’ll be too busy eating good food, going to parties, and listening to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album to even care. Most importantly, binge drinking is not just socially acceptable, it’s encouraged! December will be a breeze.


What to Expect:

  • The warmth and good feelings of Christmastime will quickly be forgotten when an unpredictable and bone-chilling, storm front sweeps over everything. Then, after Trump’s inauguration, it will get pretty cold.
  • Canada Goose Jackets will start to replicate at alarming rates.
  • Faced with the long winter ahead some people will get hysterical and advocate for something called, “Sober January.” It’s best to ignore this.
  • The only place that will not be freezing cold will be the subway, which will be a comfortable 48 C at all times.
  • In everyday conversation you will start casually dropping meteorological phrases like, “arctic oscillation,” “polar vortex,” and, “cold as balls.”

How to survive January:

Hot cocoa and fun sweaters aren’t going to cut it in January. It’s time to get serious. Turn on your heat, invest in thermal socks, and start developing some psychological coping mechanisms for what’s coming next.


What to Expect:

  • Your heating bill will arrive and just say, “Fuck you.”
  • Bay Street will complete its seasonal transition into a wind tunnel experiment to test the limits of human endurance.
  • If it gets up to 15 C, you will text a screencap of the weather report to your friend in Edmonton to brag about how warm it is here.
  • The constant darkness makes it impossible to determine when days start or end, which will be your excuse for never changing your long johns.
  • Absolute Zero will become less an obscure scientific concept and more a realistic possibility for the night-time low.
  • Winterlicious, probably.

How to survive February:

If you can find any moose in downtown Toronto, this would be a good time to kill one, disembowel it, and use the still warm carcass as a protective shield against the cold. Otherwise you will have to settle for “layering” and relying on the PATH for getting around.


What to Expect:

  • You will start showing worrying signs of something that WebMD calls, “Urban Snow Madness.”
  • A rare forecast of no precipitation will result in a late-season attempt to hike through High Park. As soon as you arrive it will start blizzarding large chunks of permafrost.
  • You will find yourself getting into one-sided, screaming matches with weather patterns.
  • All plans with everyone, anywhere—including weddings, funerals, and non-elective surgery—are to be considered “weather dependent.”
  • During a particularly bad flare-up of your Urban Snow Madness, you will consider moving to Vancouver.

How to survive March:

Survive? Why would you want to survive? There’s nothing for you on the other side.


What To Expect:

  • One day you will look out the window to see a snowstorm and stutter, “B-b-but it’s April! It’s April! Why? Why, God!?”

How to survive April:

Curl up in the fetal position, rock back-and-forth and quietly whisper, “It’s almost patio season, it’s almost patio season, it’s almost…”