Helpful Life Hacks to Survive Winter in Toronto

8 tricks to keep yourself safe this winter

The city can be an unforgiving place in the dead of winter. When mother nature strikes with the colder weather, those who aren’t ready may be eaten alive. If you don’t prepare, sickness will come at you faster than a cheetah to its prey, you’ll face a plethora of car troubles, and you could seriously injure yourself.

Take a look at our list of helpful hacks that will keep you slightly more prepared for the great Canadian winter:

Don’t Have Salt? Use beet juice

White beet juice is actually commonly used when temperatures reach below -20C, when salt becomes ineffective at melting ice and snow. A mixture of brine and salt will actually maintain for four days after spreading to de-ice roads and walkways. Granted it’s pricier than salt, but you can’t put a price on safety.

Keep Your Car Stocked for an Emergency

(Photo by Highways England via Flickr)

Just as you have a first aid kit in the house (and car), so too should you have an emergency kit in your car for the winter in case the worst happens. If your car ever gets stuck in the snow and you’re waiting to be dug out, you’ll want to have the following: Jumper cables, blankets, sand, windshield fluid, flares, shovel, ice scraper, and energy bars. Sand can give you added traction when trying to get the car out of an icy snowbank.

Clear Ice and Snow off Car Rooftops

Don’t want to be held liable for someone else’s smashed windows? Clear the snow and ice off the top of your vehicles before you drive. It’s a simple thing that can cause a whole lot of grievance down the line.

Icy Roads? Walk Like a Penguin

At some point in winter, everyone comes across a sheet of ice in their walking path, from some jerk who hasn’t bothered to salt (or beet juice) the sidewalk. The trick to navigating your way across these dangerous walking conditions is to walk like a penguin. Put the center of your body over-top of your grounded foot, and swing your other foot around in a waddle-like movement. Sure you’ll look ridiculous, but at least you won’t hurt yourself. Safety first!

Buy Some Damn Thermal Gear!

(Photo by Chung Ho Leung via Flickr)


In case you haven’t noticed, this country is freaking cold. So if you’re planning on spending extended periods of time in negative degree weather, you should be wearing the proper gear. That means long underwear, thermal shirts, and winterized socks. If you’re in the market for a new coat, opt out of buying something light like a pea-coat, and go for something warm a park or down jacket. No one’s too cool for long underwear.

Never Leave Your Windshield Wipers Raised

A common misconception that people believe in winter is leaving your wiper arms raised prevents freezing is helpful. LIES! This “proactive” measure is dangerous because on a windy day, the arm can snap down with force that’s hard enough to crack your windshield. Instead, suggests “to sheath the wiper blades with a plastic bag and leave them in their normal position.”

Keep Your Pipes Clear

(Photo by Cha già José via Wikimedia)

Your wallet might hate you a little, but there’s a couple easy-ish ways to keep your pipes from freezing in the winter. First off, insulate your pipes, if you have exposed piping in your home. If your pipes are prone to freezing, run a bath, shower and/or sinks on the hottest setting for an hour or so on those really cold nights. If you’re planning on leaving the house for a couple days, turn off the water supply and open your faucets.

Cooking Spray + Shovels = Gold

(Photo by Onno Kluyt via Flickr)

Wet snow sure does make great snowballs, but boy does it make shoveling suck. That’s why some crafty folk have taken to coating their shovels in a heavy layer of cooking spray before heading out to clear their sidewalks and driveways. It’ll keep the snow from sticking to your shovel and will slide right off.
Main image courtesy allen via Flickr