Winter in Nova Scotia: How to Prepare for Your First Winter Here

Richard Payne
Published on November 21, 2023

Winter in Nova Scotia: How to Prepare for Your First Winter Here

Preparing for your first winter in Nova Scotia, Canada involves getting ready for cold temperatures, snowfall, and other winter-related challenges. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

Winter Clothing:

Invest in a good quality, insulated winter coat that is both windproof and waterproof.

Layering is essential, so have thermal underwear, sweaters, and fleece-lined clothing.

Don’t forget warm gloves or mittens, a hat, and a scarf to protect your extremities from the cold.

Stay dry – peel off layers when you get too hot to avoid moisture.

Winter in Nova Scotia can be damp, so if you get wet, change into dry clothing as soon as possible. You lose heat faster when you’re wet.

Quality winter wear will change your winter experience and dressing appropriately also protects you from extreme winter weather conditions including wind burn and hypothermia.

Where to Buy Winter Clothing:

Thrift stores – search for used but quality winter clothing

Sports Stores – sports and outdoor stores tend to have better quality winter wear. eg. MEC, Decathlon, Cabellas, North Face, Columbia, Canadian Tire, Sports Chek, Marks

Winners, Marshalls and Costco tend to have a good selection of base layers


Get yourself waterproof and insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry in the snow. We can have a lot of changeable conditions, such as snow, rain, ice so it’s important that your footwear can provide comfort and warmth all winter long.

Consider getting ice cleats or traction aids for your boots, especially during icy conditions.

Home Preparation:

Ensure that your home is well-insulated to keep the cold out and warmth in. Check for drafts around windows and doors and invest in a draught excluder if necessary.

Have your heating system inspected before winter to make sure it’s working efficiently.

Stock up on firewood if you have a fireplace or wood stove.

Have emergency supplies, including flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable food items in case of power outages and ice storms

Check the weather and plan ahead:

Looks can be deceiving, especially if the sun is shining. Check the windchill factor and dress accordingly. Accuweather and The Weather Network are good sources of information

Winter Driving:

Winterize your vehicle by checking the antifreeze levels, tread and battery. Use a winter windshield washer fluid that is designed to clean and de-ice the windshield. Invest in winter tires for better traction and safer driving and always clear your car of snow and ice before driving.

Keep an emergency kit in your car, including a blanket, drinking water, snacks, a flashlight, and a shovel. A snow broom, scraper, and a fresh container of winter windshield washer fluid is a good idea especially if you are planning a long trip.

Familiarize yourself with winter driving techniques, such as driving slowly, keeping a safe distance, and being cautious on icy roads. Watch out for black ice, when temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark and don’t use cruise control in slippery conditions.

Ideally, don’t drive during a storm but if you must, call 511 to check highway conditions, or 1-888-432-3233 for local road conditions.

Prepare for delays:
On snow days, allow more time to get ready and to get to where you are going. Always be prepared for unexpected road conditions. There will often be bus, or traffic delays and cancellations and maybe even a winter snow day, when students or workers are allowed to stay home. For regular updates on highway conditions, visit 511 Nova Scotia

Snow Removal Tools:

Invest in a good snow shovel and perhaps a snow blower for clearing driveways and sidewalks.

Keep ice melt or traction sand on hand to prevent slips and falls.

Winter Activities:

Winter can be so much fun! There are many fun outdoor activities you can take part in such as skiing (cross country and downhill), snowshoeing, ice skating, tobogganing/sledding and hiking! It’s a great way to enjoy the season and stay active.

Health Precautions:

Be mindful of your health during the winter. Dress appropriately for the weather, stay hydrated, and be aware of signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Compared to other parts of Canada, our winters are pretty mild but we do tend to have a lot of changeable weather from rain, freezing rain to snow. Temperatures can change quickly

Community Resources:

Get to know your neighbours and the community. They can provide valuable advice and support during the winter months.

Stay Informed:

Keep an eye on weather forecasts and be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions.

Listen to local news and follow community updates for any advisories or warnings.

By taking these steps, you’ll be better prepared to handle the challenges that come with winter in Nova Scotia. Remember that adapting to a new climate takes time, so be patient and proactive in your preparations.

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