Stop Whining: 12 Ways to Properly Enjoy the Canadian Winter

On a recent trip to Nicaragua, as I watched the sunset from Maderas Beach, I ended up speaking to a young girl and her father. They had just been surfing for hours and I had just been drinking beer while watching people surf for hours. I was exhausted, and they were from Bermuda.

The inquisitive young girl quickly uncovered that I was from Canada, and as it often does, the weather conversation ensued. Much to my surprise, however, her sentiments about Canadian weather culminated with this sparkling statement:

“I wish I could see snow.”

I almost dropped my beer.

I was also completely shocked at what she had just said.

As winter unravels in this country, all I ever hear is incessant bitching and insufferable whining. And sneezing. I also hear a lot of sneezing. But mostly, all I hear is whining. The cold weather, the traffic, the ice, the cold, the heating bills, the cold, the shrinkage, wahhh, wahhhh, wahhh.


Canadian winter is a beautiful, inspiring time during which we should be grateful, not critical. If we can’t figure out how to enjoy the gift of snowy splendour, then shame on us. There are plenty of ways to make the most of our colder months and warm ourselves with not just earth-demolishing fossil fuels, but also entertainment and appreciation.

Here are just a few of those ways…


1. Buy a Toboggan (or Inner Tube or Greased Saucer-Sled)
Toboggans aren’t just for kids – they’re for awesome people who like screaming in public and sometimes still pee in their snowpants. So, everyone.

2. Local Road Trip
This country is full of unbelievable winter-winning getaways. Most of them are only a few hours from major cities and two of them were just ranked the two best ski resorts in North America. Whistler, Banff, Tremblant, Collingwood, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and more. The roads may be slippery, but they lead to some exceptional places. First thing’s first, though…

Yeah, I get it, it’s annoying and it’s kinda pricey. You know what’s even more annoying and pricey? Doing an Audi 720-tailspin into the steel anus of a garbage truck. In Canada, “All Season” is car code for “Three Season,” so be smart and protect yourself from the fourth by wearing the right rubbers.

4. Embrace the Bath
All the women just said, “Duhhh,” and all the guys just stopped reading. Baths are the third most underrated naked activity behind rollerblading and the hula hoop. Bubbles, salts, wine, Netflix, go.

5. Go Hot Chocolate-Hunting
Don’t just get hot chocolate. Get the best hot chocolate your city has to offer. It makes a huge difference. Go sipping at places like Mink Chocolates and East Van Roasters in Vancouver, Café Névé and Au Festin de Babette in Montréal, Chokolat and Euphoria Cafe in Calgary, and Soma and Bobbette & Belle in Toronto.

6. Carry a Flask
See #5.

7. Go to a Charity Event (or Three)
During the balance of the year, most of us probably don’t give as much as we could or should to those who are less fortunate. So what better incentive than a hot room with cool company and an excuse to cover up your winter rolls with something “elegant” and “really, really black.” Keep an eye out for stuff like the Night to Nurture Gala or motionball Gala in Toronto, or low-key options like Soirée Rose de Jéricho in Montréal.

8. Don’t Forget About Sunday Fundays
Sundays might be colder, but they’re still just as good for day drinks, fancy brunches, and all around cozy-but-crazy shenanigans. Plus, during winter, when you don’t show up to work on time Monday morning, you have, like, a billion believable excuses. Or you could just tell the truth and say you couldn’t feel your legs when you woke up. You don’t have to say why

9. Learn At Least One New Drink or Meal Recipe
You’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors these coming months and if you work on your personality a bit, you might even get invited to a few dinner parties. Make the most of it by expanding your holiday menu; festive drinks are always a hit and it can’t hurt to master a few good ol’ fashioned tummy-warmers like turkey chilli and apple pie.

10. Sharpen Your Skates
For a country where allegedly everybody plays hockey, it’s astonishing how many people can’t find their skates. It’s romantic, it’s refreshing, it’s healthy, and it’s fun. So strap on the shiny tights and fluffy mittens, sharpen your blades and go get your Elvis Stojko on. Or just casually putt around the ice … whatever, I just wanted to say “Elvis Stojko” [shhhhhhhhhTOY-koh].

11. Make Your Pets Wear Really, Really, Really Ridiculously Cute Winter Stuff
If you go through winter without making your dog wear an argyle pattern turtleneck, antler ear-warmers, and a set of miniature double-booted slalom skis, you’re an idiot. That’s why you got the dog instead of a real friend. Don’t ruin this for the rest of us.

12. Hit Somebody in the Face With a Snowball
I once hit an unsuspecting pedestrian in the mouth with a perfectly groomed slushball and I didn’t stop smiling for three weeks. In case you forget just how fun it is, please recall Exhibit A – The Best Scene in Dumb and Dumber: