Probably the most asked question of anyone taking a holiday is ‘what’s the weather going to be like?’ and, of course, the UK has an obsession with the weather. The perception is that Canada is a cold country and everyone is hidden under snow and ice for much of the year but the truth is many parts of Canada have wonderfully hot summers, fabulous snowy winters, balmy spring days and an autumn with the right mix of sun and cooler nights to bring out the beautiful reds and oranges of the flora and fauna.
So how do you pack for your Canadian holiday? Let’s start with winter and how cold it might get. Yes, winter in Canada is cold, but it’s that lovely, crisp cold with blue skies that we can only envy. If you’re taking a skiing holiday, then clothing choices are obvious, with layers being the key under your ski jacket and salopettes (which you can also hire if you wish). If you are doing a winter activity holiday, your cold-weather gear will almost always be included or easily available; think cosy parka, lined trousers and heated gloves (for snowmobiling). While we know skiers will often have the latest accessories wherever they travel, heated gloves and lined trousers are not often needed in your every day life at home.
If you are embarking on a summer holiday, then you need to look on it in almost the same way as you would a staycation at home; there will be hot days, so the shorts, t-shirts and summer dresses are a must, but there will be cooler days too where a jumper/sweatshirt/light jacket will be needed. Some parts of Canada see little summer rain – the Okanagan area in British Columbia for example, has its own desert area – but a waterproof jacket is always a good bet. It also depends on what you are doing and where you are going; hiking in the rainforest is obviously going to require good shoes and waterproofs whereas an Alaskan cruise will require a cocktail dress in case you get asked to the Captain’s table.
Canadians are generally quite casual in their day-to-day appearance and relaxed dress is very much the order of the day,your jeans can take you from a casual brunch to a city sightseeing tour or even a meal in your hotel’s fine-dining restaurant.
Most airlines allow up to 23kg of luggage – more if you opt for premium economy, business or first-class – plus a sizeable piece of hand luggage, so don’t be afraid to throw in another layer – or indeed another swimsuit – just in case. Of course, chances are you will end up taking back a souvenir or two; Roots is a great Canadian clothing store for quality casual wear and there is always room for a t-shirt with a bear pun or even a stetson or a tuque (Canadian for bobble hat). Surely no-one ever needed an excuse to go shopping…?