It was exactly a year ago this week that I moved from my home in New York City to Toronto

I was only supposed to be in Canada for a few weeks before moving on to Thailand, so I packed according. 

As it turns out, the world changed drastically right as I was arriving, and what was meant to be a brief stay turned into spending eight months in Canada.

Unfortunately, this meant almost all of my wardrobe was out of place for the cold Canadian winter.

Thankfully, it just took a bit of online shopping and some local advice to sort out my dilemma.

Are you wondering what to wear in Canada in winter? Just follow this packing list below and you’ll be a lot more prepared than I was!

Stock Up on Warm Accessories

Winter Coat 

This item is fairly obvious, you’re going to want a nice heavy duty winter coat for Canada.

I always end up buying my winter coats from either North Face or Canada Goose. Both brands make coats that come in a longer length style that’s perfect for the brutal cold weather. 

Both also have plenty of isolation to keep you extra warm on a freezing day. 

The North Face Metropolis Parka
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Canada Goose Rossclair Parka
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Winter Gloves

Gloves were one of the first items I bought when I realized I’d be spending extra time in Canada. 

I’m really partial to these MCTi Ski Gloves I picked up last year. They’re cute, waterproof, warm, and work with touch screen phones.

If you want gloves that aren’t  as bulky and still provide a solid amount of warmth, check out the FanVince gloves. They’re waterproof and also work with touch screens.  

MCTi Ski Gloves
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Fanvince Thermal Gloves
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Wool Socks

When you’re layering up, don’t forget about your feet. 

The last thing you want to do in the middle of the brisk cold Canadian winter is go out with a thin pair of socks on—your feet will freeze after a few minutes!

Invest in a few pairs of quality wool socks to keep your toes warm on the coldest of days!

Enerwear makes really nice ones that are a blend of 85% wool, with a bit of spandex and nylon added in. 

The best part is that they’re just the right amount of thick, so that they fit easily with pretty much any shoe. 

EnerWear Merino Wool Socks
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Warm Tights

If you’re packing a dress, you’ll absolutely want to pack some warm tights to go along with it.

I’ve been partial to just wearing my Capezio dance tights, since they’re thicker than normal ones.

I know it’s weird to wear dance tights in everyday life, but they would always keep my legs warm on the way to dance classes in New York. Eventually, I just started wearing them everywhere.

When I told my Canadian friend about my dance tights as winter tights obsession, they couldn’t stop laughing.

That’s when she told me about fleece lined tights. She said they’re the only tights they wear to work in the winter and basically said I was crazy not to have a pair.

VERO MONTE makes a really nice pair that will keep your legs nice and toasty.

Now I always travel to winter destinations with both my standby Capezios and my more solid winter weather VERO MONTE pair.

Capezio Women's Hold & Stretch Footed Tight
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VERO MONTE Opaque Warm Fleece Lined Tights
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Winter Hat 

Another wool item you’ll want to invest in is a winter hat. 

I got mine from Minus33 and it’s been the perfect warm winter hat. It’s super soft and made of Merino wool that’s machine washable and dryable!

It’s also thin enough that you can easily put it in a pocket or purse when you stop to warm up with a nice cup of coffee. 

Minus33 Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie
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Thermal Leggings

One of my favorite things a local told me about was thermal leggings. 

With their extra insulation, they quickly became my favorite thing to wear while running errands. 

The ones I got were from BALEAF. They have a side pocket and a fleece lining. I got the black, but the good news is they come in many colors, so you can pick the ones that fit your style. 

I love them so much that I ordered a second pair in the navy as I was writing this. 

BALEAF Fleece Lined Leggings
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Long Johns

If you really want to go all in, order a pair of long johns. 

Turns out they’re super warm, and easy to layer under most clothes.

Thermajane makes an impressive set of fleece-lined, moisture wicking long johns. 

They’re so cozy that you’ll even want to wear them while lounging around the house!

Thermajane Fleece Lined Long Johns Set
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Pack a Solid Winter Wardrobe

Thermal Tops

Another must for your winter wardrobe are thermal tops.

Canadian winters are insanely cold, and these tops will help you stay cute and warm!

I prefer the black turtle neck thermal tops because they’re easy to style day or night and always look chic and keep your neck warm!

I got my last one from Herou and it’s still one of my favorite winter staples. In fact, I purchased two black turtlenecks and one ruby one so that I’d always have a few options on hand. 

If you’re not a turtleneck fan, check out MANCYFIT’s V-neck thermal collection. They come in lots of colors and are fleece lined.

Herou Lightweight Soft Pullover Turtleneck Tops
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MANCYFIT Fleece Lined Thermal Top
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Warm Zip-Up

One of my favorite things to travel with is a zip-up. It’s perfect for when you need to add an extra layer or remove one quickly. 

I almost always end up wearing it on flights because I’m always freezing on planes.

My favorite zip-up is no longer in production, but don’t stress, I’ve listed a few similar models below for you to shop.

The Dolcevida one is fleece lined for a bit of extra warmth, and the Ollie Arnez comes with a hood to keep you warm.

Dolcevida Fleece Zip Up Speckled Jacket
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OLLIE ARNES Thermal Zip Up Jacket
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Sweaters

You’ll also want a selection of warm sweaters to survive spending time in Canada during the winter.

I’m especially loving the big chunky knit sweaters this season. They make it easy to add a thermal underneath if it’s below zero out. 

KINGFEN does a pretty red knit turtleneck sweater that’s super soft and one of my favorite pieces to travel with.

If you’re looking for something similar but without the turtleneck, check out v28’s crewneck sweater. The off-white is especially elegant and very winter chic!

KINGFEN Chunky Knit Sweater
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v28 Crew Neck Knit Sweater
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Jeans

I believe that everyone should always have at least one nice pair of jeans with them.

Jeans are so easy to dress up or down, and they are fairly warm. 

I always travel with 2 pairs—a skinny black jean, and a skinny dark wash denim.

The glorious thing about skinny jeans is that they can easily fit into your winter boots, while keeping your look chic!

My favorite jeans are from Jbrand, they’re super well made and always look stylish.

J Brand Natasha Sky High Skinny Jeans
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J Brand 620 Mid Rise Super Skinny Jean
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Snow Pants

If you’re planning an enormous amount of outdoor time, like hiking or skiing, then you’ll want to pack a pair of snow pants. 

If you’re really going to be in a ton of snow, I’d go for the bib style snow suit by Arctix. They have ThermaTech insulation and are waterproof. They also have adjustable straps and boot zippers to make getting your boots on a breeze.

But if it’s snow, go for the more stylish snow pants from Camii Mia. They’re super flattering and lined with fleece. Plus, they’re waterproof and windproof to keep you extra comfy!

Camii Mia Waterproof Ski Snow Pants
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Arctix Womens Essential Insulated Bib Overalls
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Snow Boots

If you’re planning on spending any time outside in Canada, especially outside of major cities, you’ll want to have a pair of snow boots handy.

Since they’re a hard item to pack, I’d really only bring these if you have extra space, there’s a snowstorm forecast, or you plan on doing lots of outdoor activities.

I didn’t have a pair in Toronto and survived with a more basic winter boot, which I’ll get into next.

If you’re looking for a solid pair of snow boots, check out the SOREL Joan of Arc snow boots. I’ve had my pair for years, and they’ve never let me down. 

They’re super fashionable, waterproof and lined with fleece and faux fur trim. 

SOREL Joan of Arctic Winter Boot
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Winter Boots

I survived the Toronto winter with two pairs of waterproof boots that have served me well through many rainy and snowy seasons in NYC

Both pairs are from BLONDO, they’re known for creating stylish boots, with rubber bottoms that are totally waterproof.

My favorite pair are their over-the-knee boots. They’re basically an exact dupe of the more expensive Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots. 

I also have a pair of their booties, which are perfect for running around town in. They look cute with leggings or with jeans. 

Just make sure whatever winter boots you bring to Canada are waterproof and have rubber bottoms, ideally with some sort of traction. The last thing you want is to slip and fall on your butt in front of everyone!

Blondo Women's Velma Waterproof Riding Boot
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Blondo Women's Vegas Waterproof Ankle Bootie
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Warm Dress

If you plan on going anywhere fancy, toss a cute sweater dress in your bag.

I always pack one that’s on the longer side so that I’m more covered up in the cold.

Because I’m a sucker for a good turtleneck, I typically end up bringing a turtleneck dress. You can dress them up or down and have the bonus of keeping your neck warm.

Rocorose makes a cute long knit turtleneck dress that comes in like ten colors. I bought it black, but also really love the camel color.

If you don’t love turtleneck dresses as much as I do, opt for a basic sweater dress to keep you warm. Dearlove makes an adorable one with a crew neck. 

Rocorose Turtleneck Ribbed Sweater Dress
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Dearlove Crew Neck Slim Knit Sweater Dress
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Other Winter Vacation Essentials

Hand and Foot Warmers

I know hand and foot warmers are things that most of us are only used to seeing our grandparents use, but trust me, you’ll want a few of them while you’re in the snow.

Canada gets freezing cold and windy. Once you add snow into the mix, you’ve got some freezing hands and feet.

I ordered a variety pack from HotHands and would carry the hand warmers in my purse for anytime I was outside for extended periods of time. They really come in handy on days you forget to grab your gloves.

The foot warmers are one of my favorite things to put in my socks right after I get home. They instantly warm up your feet. 

The best part is that they’re disposable, easy to use, and TSA approved.

If you want one that is technically better for the environment, The Survival Frog Store makes cute rechargeable hand warmers. They even double as a portable charger!

HotHands Variety Pack
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QuickHeat Rechargeable Hand Warmer
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Bikini

I know, this one is totally out of left field for a guide focused on what to wear in Canada in the winter. 

Here’s the deal, most hotels, ski lodges, and apartment complexes have at least one pool, hot tubs, saunas.

The last thing you want to be doing is trying to buy a last-minute swimsuit in the middle of winter so that you can enjoy the amenities.

Just toss a bikini in your bag, I bet you’ll be glad you did!

CUPSHE Women's Bikini Triangle Two Piece
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Hilor Women's Front Crossover Monokini
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Moisturizer

Travel and winter weather are both things that will dry out your skin

You absolutely will need some solid moisturizer with SPF. 

I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at the SPF bit, but the sun’s rays can still get you, even when it’s cold and cloudy. 

My go-to moisturizer is No.7 Restore and Renew with SPF. It’s super hydrating and doesn’t leave residue sitting on your skin.

If you’re looking for something extra moisturizing, grab Clinique’s Moisture Surge. It instantly revives my skin after long flights.

No matter what brand you use, always be re-applying throughout the day to keep your skin fresh!

No7 Restore & Renew Multi Action Day Cream SPF 30
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Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Replenishing Hydrator
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Chapstick

While you’re keeping your face properly hydrated, you’ll want to do the same for your lips.

I always keep some chapstick in my purse year-round so I can easily re-apply whenever necessary. 

My go-to is Burt’s Bees Pomegranate because it’s cheap and has a slight rosy tint. 

If you’re okay spending more, go for Sugar Lip Balm with SPF15. They come in different tints and is my favorite little luxury to grab when at Sephora. 

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm
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Rose Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15
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Sunglasses

I’ve forgotten to pack sunglasses more times than I care to admit. It’s the worst feeling arriving at your destination to find yourself squinting to see.

Now I always pack at least one pair in my purse the night before traveling.

My go-to’s are from Michael Kors. They’ve got a glamorous old Hollywood vibe to them and instantly elevate all of my outfits.

Michael Kors Sunglasses
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Final Thoughts

What to Wear in Canada in the Winter

Even though I’m admittedly not a fan of freezing cold winter weather, Canada will always have a special place in my heart.

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise that I could stay in the country as long as I did. 

I got to experience every season and all the weather changes that go along with them. 

It truly is a beautiful country any time of year, but especially in the winter when it’s covered in so much snow that you feel as if you’ve woken up in a snow globe.

I hope this guide has helped you figure out what to wear in Canada in the winter. 

Let me know in the comments below what your go-to winter survival item is, and if I need to add it to my list!

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