Welcome to Winter! Part 1: How to Fight the Winter Blues

January 13, 2012 | Melanie

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Winter in Canada is not easy.

Many newcomers prepare themselves for their new life in Canada by learning English or preparing for the Citizenship Test, but few think about the skills they will need to survive the cold Canadian winter.

That is why we are introducing the Welcome to Winter! series. In the next three weeks, we will talk about the skills you will need to survive the winter in Canada. This week's topic is "How to Fight the Winter Blues."

 Nathan Phillips SquarePhoto credit: http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/cavalcade_lights/2011/skating.htm   


How to Fight the Winter Blues

First comes the cold, then the shorter days, and then the snow. Winter seems to make everyday life a little more challenging. It takes longer to get anywhere because of all the ice and slush. It takes longer to get dressed because of all the layers of clothing you have to put on. The days are shorter, it get's darker faster, and it makes you feel like your whole day is gone before it has even started!

Because of all the challenges and obstacles winter brings, it's hard not to get depressed. But don't let the Winter Blues get you down!

Here are some suggestions on how you can fight the winter blues:


1. Play Winter Sports!

Canada is home to many winter sports! Some of the most commonly enjoyed winter sports activities in Canada include hockey, skiing and snowboarding, skating, and tobagganing. Toronto Parks and Recreation offers drop-in hockey programs. There are also two Skiing and Snowboarding Centres located in Toronto and many other popular and well-known ski resorts located outside Toronto.

One of my favourite winter activities is outdoor skating. My two favourite outdoor skating rinks are at Nathan Phillips Square, located in front of City Hall, and the Harbourfront Centre Natrel Rink, where you can skate to DJ music every Saturday night! Another one of my favourite winter activities is tobogganing! Two of my favourite tobogganing hills are located at Christie Pits and Bert Robinson Park.                        

Want to learn more about winter sports? Check out these items available from the Toronto Public Library!                                                                                                               

             Ski Canada       Beginning Ice Skating       Keeping Canada's Winter Sports Alive

                           How Hockey Explains Canada             Hockey A People's History


2. Enjoy Local Winter Festivals and Events!

During the winter many people escape to sunny destinations. But if you don't have the time or money to take a trip to a warmer climate, there are many winter festivals and events that you can enjoy in and around the city. One of the most popular winter events in the city is Winterlicious (Jan. 27 - Feb. 9), a winter food festival where you can enjoy a "fixed price" menu at various restaurants around Toronto. Another great winter event is the Bloor-Yorkville Ice Fest (Feb. 25 - 26), where you can view beautiful ice sculptures and even watch an ice carving competition! 

IceFest 2012
         Photo credit: http://www.bloor-yorkville.com/Events.aspx 

If you can travel outside the city, there are many other wonderful winter festivals and events such as Ottawa's Winterlude festival (Feb. 3 - 20), where you can skate on the world's largest skating rink and play in North America's largest snow playground, and the Bronte Creek Maple Syrup Festival, where you can sample some great Canadian maple syrup.  If you're feeling really adventurous you can visit Quebec City's famous Winter Carnaval (Jan. 27 - Mar. 31) or the Snow Village in Montreal (Jan. 6 - Mar. 31). 

If you want more information on things to see and do in the winter, Ontario Travel is a great resource! Check out their Winter Getaways Magazine.                                                                                  

Winter Getaways
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Photo credit: http://www.ontariotravel.net/TCISSegmentsWeb/main.portal?language=EN)        


You can also learn more about winter festivals and activities by checking out the many travel guides available from Toronto Public Library. Here are some suggestions:

                Day Trips from Toronto           Toronto Fun Places         I Hate Winter

3. Visit Your Local Library

And finally, visit your local library! Your local library has many activities to keep you busy during the long winter months. Toronto Public Library offers many winter programs to choose from! Check out Toronto Reference Library's Winter Afternoon at the Movies program, or  Yorkville's Winter Family Storytime. Whether it's cozying up with a good book, or taking part in one of our wonderful programs, you're sure to find something at your local library to help you pass away the winter.

Below are some books available from the Toronto Public Library that prove that winter can be beautiful:

On Site with Maurice Haycock   To the Arctic.aspx Arctic Visions

With all these fun activites and things to do, winter doesn't seem so bad after all!

Share your ideas with us! How are you going to fight the Winter Blues?