Hot tips for enjoying Ottawa’s coldest season

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A group of students snowshoeing in a winter setting in the woods

It’s a classic Ottawa winter scenario: just as you think winter is close to an end, another snowstorm arrives! Some might argue, this is the true beauty of Canadian winters. 

If this is your first Canadian winter as an international or exchange student or if you simply need suggestions to make it more bearable – keep reading! We asked our mentors from the International Mentoring Centre to share their top tips for enjoying the frigid season, and you may just find them helpful. 

Brave the cold 

Here's some advice on how to stay warm and cozy. Once you're all bundled up, you'll realize that winter is truly awesome!  

A smiling young woman dressed in University of Ottawa apparel holds snow in her hands

"My best tip for a Canadian winter is always staying warm. Putting on a pair of thermal underwear is not enough; you should also wear your warmest coat and winter boots. The sunshine in the winter can be deceiving, therefore, be sure to check the weather forecast. Sometimes the wind blows heavily, so wearing a hat and covering your face with a scarf is helpful. ", Yilin He, Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communication

"Use the uOttawa connection bridges or tunnels to stay indoors! Also wear multiple layers of clothes and get a good winter jacket and winter boots.", Gigi Huang, BSc in Biomedical Science and Minor in Psychology

"I always check the weather forecast before heading out to make sure I protect myself from the cold by dressing accordingly. I also check the bus schedule, so I don't freeze while waiting outside.", Houinsou Mélissa Délalie, Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences

"My best tip to thrive in Canadian winters is to wear multiple layers of clothes so that you can take some of those layers off as you enter a warmer place. Also, a scarf can be essential to keep your nose and neck warm and prevent sore throat and cold.", Samridhi Samridhi, BSc in Biomedical Science

Make the most of the season and stay active 

Celebrate winter with friends, and make sure to enjoy at least one of our mentors' favourite activities.

Two students in winter gear eat BeaverTails pastries in a winter setting

"Winter hiking in the Gatineau Park is a must-do for me in the winter. I also really look forward to the uOttawa Snow Festival in February.", Samridhi Samridhi

"My winter favourite is Winterlude. I love to see the beautiful ice sculptures by talented artists, it's also a good time to take lots of pretty winter photos with my friends.", Houinsou Mélissa Délalie

"Looking at winter from a different perspective. Instead of worrying about the snow, you should see the winter as a new way of having fun because some activities only happen at this time of year, like Winterlude and the uOttawa Snow Festival!", Manal El Kacimi, BASc in Mechanical Engineering

"My winter musts: Go skiing or snowboarding and have fun at Winterlude! Eat lots of sweets and stay away from winter blues.", Gigi Huang 

Step outside your comfort zone

Take advantage of the season to make changes to your routine!

Three female students are smiling and eating pastries in a winter landscape

"Embrace the fact that winter is cold. Take care of yourself by eating properly and exercising –walking around in your neighbourhood definitely counts but watching Netflix at home doesn't! Also make sure your winter clothes do not only keep you warm and dry but also protect you from the wind.", Warut Khemprasit, Bachelor of Education

"For me, the best way to enjoy winter in Ottawa is going ice skating. I tried it for the first time last year. When I first stepped on the ice, I was scared of falling down, but managed to do very well. Skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway is interesting because it's an authentic winter experience. It's cold but you will quickly get used to it. While skating, you can enjoy the view alongside the canal and learn more about this city. After skating, treating yourself to a Beaver Tail or a cup of hot chocolate will warm you up. There are also plenty of other outdoor skating rinks in the city, and most of them are free of charge! Therefore, you can bring as many friends as you like and learn how to skate.", Yilin He

"If you have a chance, you must try snow tubing!", Warut Khemprasit

Now you have all the reasons to step outside and make the most of your winter experience at uOttawa! Take advantage of resources and activities available on campus. 

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