What to Wear in Canada

Canadians in general are relaxed and pretty informal. If it’s winter when you arrive, a knitted toque(hat) and gloves are essential in many parts of the country. Also If you get invited to someone’s home, it’s considered polite to remove your outdoor footwear at the entrance.

Cynthia, Ottawa, Canada

For American women (especially from the South) travelling to Canada on business; it can be the hottest day of the year, but in a business situation pantyhose are essential. It’s considered distasteful and unbusiness-like to show bare legs in the workplace. So heads up and invest in some sheer hose!

Meg, Washington, DC, USA

In Canada – from October to April the weather can be very cold especially in Dec-Feb. We recommend wearing heavy warm clothing and warm boots. From May to September the weather is can be very warm and sometimes can reach 90F. Women generally wear dress pants or longer skirts and are typically very well dressed. Keep in mind that Canada (Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto) have a lot of foreign cultures therefore pretty much any dress is acceptable. Teenagers typically wear short skirts and short tops which show their belly button as belly button piercing has become very popular. Men generally get the wrong impression if a woman is wearing short shirts or revealing tops and these clothes wouldn’t be recommended when going on the subway or bars in any of the suburbs. Generally people are fairly friendly and would be more than happy to lend a hand.

Caroline, Cambridge, Canada

Most (but not all) Canadian towns and cities have temperatures that range from a little above freezing to a lot below freezing in the winter. While we’re not snow-covered for the entire season (in fact, we only get a few big snowfalls a year in Toronto), there are often patches of ice on sidewalks and streets. This creates footwear challenges, if you have packed beautiful, fashionable shoes (even low-heeled boots and flats) to match your outfits. You need versatile walking-around shoes that have soft rubber treads that provide you with enough traction not to slip on the ice. You can have them added to an existing pair of shoes (before you leave or once you’re here). If there is snow on the ground (check weather forecasts), there’s also going to be salt on the ground (which eats your shoes). Pack an older pair of flat, waterproofed ankle boots (or shoes) – with treads – that you won’t cry over if they end up salt-stained.

Kate, Toronto, Canada

The winters get cold in Canada, so a winter jacket, boots, hats and mittens will be invaluable. The summers are hot, so shorts and tank tops will do fine. Like any country, very short skirts/shorts/tops may attract unwanted attention. Dress is dressy-casual. Going out for dinner? Wear something casually chic.

Marissa, Toronto, Canada


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