Don’t Dread the Winter: Embrace It! 

Don’t Dread the Winter: Embrace It! 

Photo Credit: Sajal Mohsin, Photo Editor

The season will only beat you down if you let it, so here’s some ideas to help keep you warm

Ben Hohener, Contributor

As we enter the second to last month of 2022 with winter on the horizon, the anxiety that the cold season brings has never been higher for U of T students. Whether it’s the horrifying prospect of freezing rain and brown slush covering the streets or the entrance of a brand new semester, students have been dreading the next few months like a midterm they didn’t study for. 

But as the saying goes, with the right mindset you can make the most of anything. Don’t let the weather keep you down; review these ways to make your winter a little warmer this year. 

Winter Activities to Keep You Feeling Cozy 

While it may be cliche — and a bit difficult to do depending on your circumstances — finding the beauty that the season brings can be quite rewarding for your mental health. When you think of winter, what comes to mind? There is a sharp, cold wind loudly scratching at your windows while it blows past outside, but there is also a warm feeling of comfort that the indoors brings. This latter option is what winter-lovers constantly mention when arguing for the best season. From ugly sweaters, to family gatherings, to peppermint and pumpkin spice delights, there is a lot to appreciate about winter culture that often goes overlooked. 

Why not make some hot chocolate? Staying indoors can get quite boring, but nothing will cheer your soul up more than a cup of hot cocoa. If dietary restrictions are holding you back, brewing tea or enjoying some eggnog are perfect substitutes for a warm winter drink. 

Craving something more edible? This season is the perfect time to start baking that apple pie you’ve always wanted to make (you know, the one with whipped cream and crumble), or to create a cookie masterpiece. Don’t know how to bake? Pick up some Pillsbury ready-to-make chocolate chip cookies and let the doughboy do it for you! 

Maybe just snuggling up in your favorite pajamas to watch a movie is more your style. Grab your favourite blanket and turn on a classic like Home Alone, Die Hard, or The Polar Express! Netflix is also releasing a few of their own original themed movies leading up the holidays and bringing back some fan-favorites, including Holiday Rush and Let It Snow, which both have good reviews. Movie theaters are already starting to release their holiday lineups, so get a group of friends and hit Cineplex for a blockbuster. 

With December on the horizon, the winter break that U of T students are dreaming of is so close. Many students are already making plans for the few weeks off, and with exams finished, everyone will have a lot of free time on their hands. 

Winter Activities to Get You Out of Your Hibernation Cave 

With dropping temperatures and snow that will undoubtedly reach at least ankle height, what is there to do during the winter in Toronto to keep your mind and body happy and entertained? 

Retired hockey player or a rookie on blades, ice skating is one of Canada’s favorite winter activities, and there is no shortage of places to skate both indoors and outdoors this year. The traditional skating experience is at Nathan Phillips Square, which is opening later this month. Skate rentals are only a few dollars, and it’ll definitely be worth your time. From December 2nd to the 23rd, the square is even hosting its own holiday fair, with beautiful lights and activities.

Looking for something a little more exciting? Check out The Bentway under the Gardiner Expressway, a skateboarding park that is being turned into an ice skating park! From January 4th to February 21st, it’ll be open every weekday for those looking for a more unique ice park.

If skating indoors is more your style, the City of Toronto website has dozens of arenas opening up this winter. Look for a listing near you! 

Need a break from studying, but not really big on sports? The Weather Network is predicting a pretty nice winter this year, with warmer weather and snow that isn’t too bad. A nearby walk from the campus will lead you to the famous Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), where you can take in beautiful winter artwork by local Toronto artists. The AGO’s Thomson Collection puts together pieces of Canadian landscapes like Paul Kane’s classic Scene in the Northwest and Lawren Harris’s grand glacial mountain paintings. 

Don’t miss the Toronto lights festival at the Distillery District’s Christmas market in late November and December. Known as the Winter Village of Toronto, the district’s light festival is a wonderful way to brighten up your holiday spirit. The Winter Village opened on November 17th and access is free Monday through Thursday. You might even find an interesting item or two at the market while you are there! 

Whether you enjoy skating, skiing, building snowmen, or taking in the many other outdoor activities, including catching snowflakes on your tongue or simply just walking around in the white wonderland, I hope you’ll take advantage of what this amazing city has to offer this season.