10 survival tips to keep you warm in winter (specifically in Montreal, Canada)

What I personally like to wear when venturing outside during the winter...

1.  If you have to go outside, run everywhere instead of walking.  If you don’t have the skill to run on ice that most Canadians have honed since childhood, wear spikes on the bottom of your boots (like these!)  Or I suppose you could always wear some fashionable 5 inch spiked heels to “puncture” the ice (typically the more popular choice in Montreal).

2.  Take up a winter sport.  There’s a good reason why Canada has a nation-wide obsession with hockey, and it’s all linked to survival instinct.

3.  Light everything on FIRE!!!

4.  Buy some warm weather gear.  This seems like common sense, but every year at my university, they have a “winter coat drive” where you can donate warm clothing to international students who didn’t realize how cold it can get here.  So may I suggest you buy a toque.  Or a face mask.  Or be stubborn and master the maze of underground mall-paths.

5.  Find yourself an election sign and risk death by tobogganing into incoming traffic on Mont. Royal.

6.  Grab some friends and go to Igloofest.  Or Nuit Blanche.  Or the Snow Village.  The theory is if you spend enough time drinking in igloos, everything else will seem warmer in comparison.  Have some Quebec ice cider or beer.  Honestly, these places and events do exist… although you can’t always trust Canadians when it comes to igloos.

7.  Infuse yourself with sugar.  If you can’t get to a sugar shack, go to one of the fresh produce markets of Montreal – my favourite (and the largest) is Jean Talon – and pick yourself up some “tire sur la neige” (toffee on the snow).  Yes, Quebecers actively encourage their children to eat boiled maple syrup, poured onto snow, then wrapped around a stick.  I find it entertaining that an activity from my childhood that used to get me in trouble with my mother is actually sold here as food.  Delicious, delicious food.

8.  Visit the Biodome to warm up.  Or go chill with the penguins.

9.  If you just so happen to be a scientist, and as such work/sleep/live in a lab (which may well be the case if you’re reading my blog), steal yourself some powder free, latex, lab gloves, and wear them inside of your mittens.  Not sure exactly how the magic works, but I have a theory that because your skin can’t breathe, you end up retaining the heat in your hands a lot more efficiently.  This little trick saved my hands from many a Montreal winter.  Alternatively, though, you can always just go with our next option…

10.  Get out of Montreal until spring appears.  I recommend Mexico.  (Or Vancouver, if you need to stay in Canada.  But it rains a lot there.)

EDIT (later on 28Feb12):  I’ve been corrected by my Quebecois boyfriend about the proper procedure to make “tire sur la neige”.  It’s been modified accordingly.

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4 Responses to 10 survival tips to keep you warm in winter (specifically in Montreal, Canada)

  1. Owen says:

    You’re correct about the latex gloves… because they shut off any air circulation around your hands, you get a layer of water vapor which doesn’t evaporate (even in cold temperatures, the air is so dry in winter that the natural moisture in your skin can vaporize) so it serves as an insulator. The best thing to do is get wool inside leather, in two discrete layers, because the ideal is that the porous wool will provide a thick layer of air that’s cut off from air circulation by the outer shell.

    Funnily enough, you’re less likely to slip and fall if you run at a constant speed than if you walk… you only need friction to start and stop running and your momentum will carry you across ice if you keep your feet right under you. Traffic lights do present a slight problem, but you’ll get where you’re going pretty quickly 😉

  2. Tameka Sick says:

    You’ll find nothing new in the sunshine.

  3. I like this web blog it’s a master piece! Glad I detected this on google.

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