Your Guide to Enjoying Your First Winter in Nova Scotia

Written by Esraa, staff member, Keshen Goodman Public Library., opens a new window

Click here to download and read the Arabic version

Your first winter in Canada can be difficult and long, especially if you are coming from a warm country. However, when taking part in fun and affordable activities, while also wearing proper clothing, you may start to enjoy the wintry Canadian weather.

Winter clothing

As a newcomer to Canada, you may use public transit during winter more often than you would in the summer—which means that you might have to wait at the bus stop for long periods of time. This is when you will need to dress warmly for the weather. The clothes that you will need to keep you warm during winter are a winter coat, winter boots, mittens or gloves, and a hat.

These clothes can be expensive, but you can buy them from thrift shops for great prices.

Some thrift shops in Nova Scotia:

Buy winter clothes during sale season for good prices

In January after Christmas, stores will put their stock of winter clothes on sale to clear the way for spring fashion.

Other ways to prepare for a Canadian winter 

Buy non-perishable food items and keep them at home

Snowstorms can be harsh, and it’s possible that you will not be able to go out to shop for groceries for two or three days. That's why it is crucial to stock up on non-perishable food that you will need ahead of time.  

Check the weather broadcast frequently

A good thing to do during the winter is to install a weather broadcast application on your cell phone and to check the radio in the morning to hear about road conditions and possible school cancellations.

Install the Halifax Transit app

Download the bus app, opens a new window on your phone, or print out the bus schedule, opens a new window to have a better idea of when the bus will arrive so that you can avoid any long waits out in the winter cold.

Ways to adapt to Canadian winter and avoid the winter blues

Many people experience changes in their mood during winter, and these changes are called the winter blues. The winter blues can lead to depression and reduce your productivity.

Here are some ways that your Library can help ease those winter blues:

Borrow a light therapy lamp

Light Therapy Lamps are a great way to help beat the winter blues, and they are now available for you to use and borrow at all branches of Halifax Public Libraries. They are designed to provide artificial light that imitates sunlight. Learn more about Light Therapy Lamps, here, opens a new window.

Borrow nordic pole walking sticks 

Physical activity may help improve mood, and the easiest way to beat the winter blues is to stay active even when it’s dark and cold. The Library has Nordic Pole Walking Sticks available to borrow at our Keshen Goodman and Sackville branches., opens a new window

Borrow a pedometer

If you’ve ever been curious about how many steps you take on your winter walks, why not check out a pedometer from one of our Halifax Public Libraries branches?

Our pedometers are very easy to use. Simply clip the device onto your waistband or belt, and it will keep track of the number of steps you take.

Read more information about walking with Nordic Poles and Pedometers, here, opens a new window.

Borrow a musical instrument 

You can borrow a musical instrument from our collection of over 150 instruments, opens a new window using your library card—just like you borrow books. More Information can be found here, opens a new window. 

Borrow books

Reading can lift your mood during winter, so check out a book that makes you laugh or helps you relax, allowing you to enjoy the winter season. 

Please visit any of our library branches, opens a new window to see our collection and to borrow books.

Borrow e-books and audiobooks via OverDrive

Did you know that you can practice English by listening to audiobooks, or by reading eBooks through your phone, tablet, or computer? You can listen on your way to work or school, or even right before bed using OverDrive, opens a new window, and Libby, its free app, that give you access to hundreds of thousands of eBook titles.

Halifax Public Libraries also has a space on OverDrive where you can borrow eBooks in languages other than English, including Arabic, Chinese, French, and more.

Check out the More Languages, opens a new window page to find the book you’re looking for.

If you have any questions about accessing this collection, please call our Ask the Library phone line at 902-490-5753, or check out our How to: Use Libby, opens a new window blog post.

Not every activity costs money

While it might seem like a lot of activities in Halifax cost money, we are lucky to have a number of things that you can do for free in our city and close by.

Go skating at the Emera Oval

The Emera Oval, opens a new window is a skating rink installed in Halifax, found in the Halifax Commons. You can even borrow skates for free if you need to (please note that this may be different during COVID-19, please visit their website for more information).

Walk along the Halifax Waterfront

Enjoy a relaxing walk along the Halifax Waterfront, opens a new window. With the ocean right beside the boardwalk, this makes for a picturesque—although chillystroll.

Visit Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove, opens a new window is one of Nova Scotia’s most popular attractions, and its lighthouse is an iconic Canadian symbol of the Maritimes. Stroll through the beautiful town of Peggy’s Cove before enjoying the view of the crashing waves on the rocks of the lighthouse.

Stroll through Shubenacadie Park with your family or friends

The Shubenacadie Canal Waterway, opens a new window has plenty of diverse recreational activities for visitors. You can find well-maintained trails for walking, cycling, camping, and cross-country skiing opportunities within the Park area.  

Visit the Discover Halifax website for more fun winter attractions and activities, here, opens a new window.

Is there something else we can do to help? Get in touch by visiting one of our Library branches,, opens a new window or give us a call on the Ask the library, opens a new window phone line. We are still here for you!

Esraa works closely with our newcomer and Arabic community in the Keshen Goodman area and is keen to share tips and ideas in both English and Arabic. Keep an eye out for more posts from Esraa in the future!