Canadian Winter FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

When going outside in the cold, you should wear: a hat, a scarf or face-mask, long-sleeves, mittens or gloves, warm socks, long pants, waterproof boots and a warm jacket with a hood.

To layer clothing means to wear several items of clothing on top of one another to keep you warm. If you enter a well-heated area, you can remove layers to avoid excessive sweating, which can actually make you colder.

Wearing several thin layers of clothing can be more effective at keeping you warm than one large coat.

A toque is what we call a winter hat. Some types have pompoms on the top! A lot of heat can escape through your head, so wearing a toque is a great way to keep warm outside.

A parka is a very warm, heavy winter coat with a hood. Sometimes there is fur or fake-fur around the hood to protect your face from the wind.

Heat escapes your body through your head. By wearing a winter hat, you trap the heat inside, allowing you to stay warm longer.

The average temperature in Sydney in the winter is approximately -4.3° C

If you feel like the temperature inside is too dry, try using a humidifier or placing a plant in your room.

Many people experience dry skin during the winter months. Try to drink extra water, regularly apply cream to your skin and keep lip balm!

Sometimes people don’t feel like themselves during the winter. They can feel more tired than usual, less energetic or a little sad. It may have something to do with the cold weather and having less sunlight. We call this the winter blues.

Making self-care a priority is the best way to keep the Winter Blues away. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, getting together with friends and spending some time outside. If you suspect your feelings are more serious, you should contact our counselling services at the Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre.

The weather channel may tell you it’s -15° outside with a wind chill of -20°. This means, when you go outside it will feel like -20° even though it’s really -15°. The wind can make it feel colder outside than the actual temperature.

Black ice is a thin layer of ice that forms on roads and sidewalks in the cold weather. It’s so thin that you can’t see it, but it’s VERY slippery. Be careful when walking on any outdoor surfaces in the winter, take your time.

A blizzard is what we call a very strong snow storm. It often includes lots of snow and very strong winds that make it difficult to see. These storms last longer than a few hours, and it’s usually best to stay indoors during a blizzard.

You may hear a warning about blowing snow, which happens when the wind picks up the light fluffy snow making it difficult to see. When blowing snow is very bad, it can cause “white-outs” which means drivers cannot see and should stay off of the roads.

Freezing rain creates a layer of ice on trees, cars, roads and sidewalks making it very slippery outside. It can feel like a mixture of rain and ice falling, so if you’re going outside in freezing rain you should try to cover your head and protect your face with a hood or mask.

Cape Breton University takes its responsibility to its students very seriously and tries its best to remain open at all times for classes and University business. However, at times, the campus must close to ensure the well-being of our campus community. In the event of a closure, the campus community will be notified immediately through CBU Alert,, and our official Facebook and Twitter accounts. A notice will also be sent to local radio stations. You can find information about campus closures in our inclement weather policy.

Reasons for closure may include inclement (bad) weather, power outages or other unforeseen circumstances beyond our control. For more information, you can view our Inclement Weather policy.

The busses will stay on the road when it snows unless the roads become dangerous. If the busses are not running, CBU will be closed.

All Canadian provinces recommend that motorists have winter tires installed when the temperature drops below 7° Celsius. Winter tires are designed to grip the road better in slippery conditions.

It is a great idea to have an emergency kit in your car. Things to include would be: food that won’t go bad such as energy bars, water, a blanket, extra clothing and shoes, a first aid kit, a small shovel, a snow-scraper, a candle and matches and a flashlight.

You cannot develop a cold or flu just from being cold, those illnesses are spread by germs. However, if you are outside for long periods of time without the proper winter clothing, you are at risk for developing hypothermia or frostbite which will make you feel sick.

Frostbite is a rare injury to the skin caused by being exposed to very cold temperatures. To keep yourself safe, make sure to protect your hands, feet, nose, ears and face when spending time outside.

Frostbite appears as a whitening of the skin, followed by redness. It may also swell or itch. If you notice these symptoms while outside, go inside and warm up as soon as possible. If your symptoms do not improve after spending some time inside, seek medical attention.

Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops below 35° Celsius (95° F). Symptoms can include shivering, numbness and confusion. The best way to prevent hypothermia is to dress warmly when going outside for long periods of time.