The cold on the East Coast intimidated me, I won’t lie.
When I landed in Toronto on the last day of February, I was pleasantly surprised to see the weather was hovering around 5°C. After checking in, I went for a walk to get some food. I just had a rain shell on and it was quite pleasant. The next morning I thought to myself how silly I was for worrying it would be cold in Spring. That night it changed.
The day saw a high of 12°C and swung down to -6°C. While it was cold, it didn’t alarm me, as I had been in -10°C weather in Vancouver. It’s rare in Vancouver but I know what to expect. Cold, but no frostbite. So, when I got to Montreal and the weather forecast was -13°C down to -24°C with wind chill, I was nervous. From what I read, after -28°C is when frostbite can start to occur. I knew if I kept my walking around to about 10-15 mins, I should be okay. And, I was okay. I was a little cold, but okay.
Before I pared down my belongings, I was thinking about the cold out here. I didn’t want to keep and drag winter clothes around for a week or so of potential cold conditions. As every Canadian kid knows, layers are a wonderful thing. I figured with a long sleeve shirt, zip up mock neck, super fuzzy hoodie and rain shell, I could trap enough air in between the layers to stay warm. It worked really well, actually. My core was warm, so I wasn’t going to die immediately. I have some Keen Targhee II shoes which are working remarkably well, so no problems there. My hands, face and legs were a bit on the chilly side after being outside for a while.
I had planned to get some gloves and a scarf, if I encountered this cold. What I didn’t count on, was getting the the Hudson’s Bay and being told they are completely sold out of gloves. I snagged a scarf cheap and the lady at the checkout suggested I try the dollar store. Score! I think I found the last pair of adult sized gloves in the store. Sure, they are robin’s egg blue, but the prices is right and they are warm!
I also snagged some long undies. I wanted to spend time wandering around in the cold and found my legs were getting numb fairly quickly. I later realised it was the wind whipping my legs, not the ambient cold. Doesn’t matter though, because I get to sport the always fashionable long undies and t-shirt lounging my hotel room.
In a nutshell, that is one Vancouverites first experience with -20°C weather. The forecast is calling for an upswing in temperature and possibly snow when I get to Quebec City. If it were going to get much colder, I’d probably invest in a proper jacket and talk with locals about frostbite. With all that said, now that I have a little bit of gear, I am loving walking around in the cold weather.