Combatting the Cold Commute

With Ryerson University being a “commuter school,” there are all sorts of ways for students to get to and from campus. My commute from Whitby to Ryerson involves a drive to the GO train station, a 45 minutes to an hour train ride, then either a subway ride or walk from Union Station to campus. This whole ordeal takes approximately two hours. 

With Toronto having already been hit with two major snowfalls, this process is getting harder and harder for all the commuters out there. But there are a few things that I’ve learned over the years which make commuting in the cold a lot more comfortable.

The most important tip is to dress in layers. Remember in elementary school when you would bundle up head to toe in your snowsuit, two sweaters, t-shirt, and three pairs of socks? The same practice goes for long commutes. 

On particularly cold days, it’s not unlike me to be wearing four shirts and my winter jacket, along with my hat, mittens and of course, fuzzy socks. Layering allows you to stay warm while you wait outside for the bus or walk from platform to platform during a train transfer. Then once in class, I’ll take off one or two of those sweaters to make myself comfortable indoors. 

Some of my favourite layering techniques include wearing big scarves (they become instant blankets in long lectures), wearing leggings underneath my jeans (denim tends to get extra cold so I find an extra layer really helps), and packing an extra pair of socks in my backpack (while this isn’t a layer, it’s always nice knowing that if I start getting cold, I can throw on an extra pair of socks).

Also, when commuting in the cold, I always pack an extra hot beverage like tea or hot chocolate to enjoy later in the day. My favourite thermos is this one from Hydroflask. This bottle keeps my drinks steaming hot from early morning when I am leaving my house to late in the afternoon when I need a studying pick-me-up. It makes surviving a blustery winter day on campus easier when I can carry a comfort from home with me and enjoy it as if it was made minutes before. Not to mention, a piping hot drink is bound to warm you up at any time of the day!

Most important of all, if you must commute in the cold, you should try to line up all your plans so you can travel indoors. Toronto is great for this because you can access a lot of places via the Path. It’s possible to get from Union Station to the Eaton Centre entirely inside. Then, you can travel from the SLC to the Rogers Communications Centre indoors too. Limiting your time outside keeps you warmer and dryer, making you more comfortable to commute later in the day.

Wintertime can be a nightmare for commuters, but by taking some extra time to plan an extra warm outfit, pack a hot drink, and make sure you optimize your time inside, you’ll be combating a cold commute in no time!