As a new resident of Québec and a girl who tends to be slightly accident prone (especially in winter), I feel that I am probably one of the best people to write a post on surviving winter in Québec. Granted, winter is not anywhere close to being over, but I have learned a few things already and I feel the need to pass then along because Québec is the one province EVERYONE need to experience in winter at least once in their life.

No, really.

And this from a girl who has done the splits while crossing the street three times already this year!!

Rock salt is your friend.

Actually a mixture of rock salt and sand is best. Here’s the deal, Vieux Québec (Old Québec) is very hilly, the streets are cobbled, and the sidewalks are stone. All gorgeous to look at, but if it’s winter and it’s been raining. OMG! The city is pretty good with laying down salt, but there are always very slippery parts. Carry a small ziploc baggies of rock salt and sand in your pocket when walking around. Then when you need to walk on a very slippery spot, throw down some rock salt for traction. Your ass and back will be very happy with you!

Layer Up.

Québec has what is called a moist cold. This means that on moist winter days the wind will pretty much whip right through you and chill you to the bone. Your outer layer should be waterproof to help keep your remaining layers dry. Always have a fleece layer, and possibly a thermal layer as well. If you get hot, remove a layer, but on super cold days, you’ll be glad you look like the stay puff marshmallow man.

Hand Warmers can go almost anywhere.

Have you seen hand warmers? You can buy them and place them in your mittens to keep your hands warm on cold days. Well, you can also put them in your boots. Or like me, in your bra. Guys, don’t be placing one on your manhood unless you want to explain your ‘situation’ to a nurse in a crowded emergency room. Just saying…

Chocolat Chaud is your friend.

You can buy chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) anywhere in Vieux Québec, but don’t be a redneck about it. If you want to truly experience chocolat chaud as it is meant to be, then there are only two places to go: Erico’s Chocomusée or Café Bar Artefact. Trust me, it’s like sex in a cup.

Icy Hot and/or Heating Pads

I swear, walking up and down all those hills and dealing with occasional ice really isn’t bad when you’re doing it, but an hour after you sit down at the end of the day your body will make you feel as though you’re an 85 year old waiting for a hip replacement. Buy icy hot or a heating pad. Use liberally. Perhaps you should take some Motrin for muscle pain. That way you’ll be good to go the very next day.


Québec is one of the best places in Canada in winter. This is a place that truly embraces and celebrates the season. Make time to play. Build a snowman on a random lawn, or make snow angels. Have fun!!

About The Author

I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

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2 Responses

  1. Sofie

    I’ll be going to Québec end of March. I know it will be less cold than it is now, but it will still be freaking cold and I’m a bit worried about that.
    I love the heat. I love being warm.

    I know I have to go out and buy me some winter gear but there are SO many brands and there’s SO much choice.
    And I hate making decisions.


    • Pamela MacNaughtan

      Ice cleats! You shouldn’t need them, but I would pack them just incase the winter is totally wacky and there are icy roads. The streets of Old Québec can be a scary place when it’s icy!! LOL


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