Snow Shoveling Tips & Ottawa Meetup - Jan/Feb 2023

Ottawa, Canada
19 Jan (?) - 28 Feb

My husband and I will be in Ottawa for half of January and all of February 2023.

We’d love to catch up for a drink/hike/cross country ski/skate with anyone who is there at the same time as us.

If you are a local Ottawan (not sure if this is the correct terminology)…maybe you can give us some snow shoveling tips! :slight_smile: :snowflake:


Thanks @PawsomePetsitters for posting your meetup! Hope you find some takers … at least there’s plenty of time to organise this one - we may need to “bump” this thread a few times!!

If you need some tips on snow shoveling in the meantime it could be a good topic to start in the “sitter/owner exchange” as the season approaches! I know that snow and ice removal ordinances apply throughout Canada, so it’s good to get some tips on making this as easy a task as possible - I’m sure there will be some Canadians (including @Snowbird and @Angela-HeadOfCommunity) who would have some good advice!

All the best


Hope this comes about! Should be fun

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Hello @PawsomePetsitters and an advanced welcome to Canada. @Vanessa-ForumCMgr seems to forget the reason my username is snowbird - when the snow flies, so do I :sunglasses:

However, here are some points, for when you’re a temporary Ottawan (yes, you were correct):

  • Snowshovelling - at the first good snowfall, where shovelling is needed, my chiropractor is inundated with calls from patients he hasn’t seen in a while. Moderation is key, as you’ll be using muscles that haven’t had that workout for some time, if at all. Bend at the knees, not at the waist. Getting friendly with a neighbour who has a snowblower works too. :wink:

  • If you are caring for a house and it’s a heavy snowfall, there are maintenance checks you would not consider in a warmer climate. Familiarize yourself with these, generally beforehand, but specifically with the homeowner for the type of home.

  • If you are walking a pet, ask what they tolerate in the way of temperatures and surfaces. There are lots of cold-weather clothing and accessories for dogs, for example. Keep the pet’s normal routine, and safeguard them from extreme cold, just as you would from extreme heat.

  • The first snowfall that sticks/stays brings about numerous auto collisions. If you’re driving in snow, it takes a new set of skills. Ask someone. Don’t assume that just going slower will be sufficient.

  • You may be pleasantly surprised by how often roads and sidewalks are cleared, except in extreme snowfalls when it may take a few days. However, depending on how long you’ll be in Canada and where you’ll be staying, you may want to consider buying crampons ($20 Canadian). They fit easily over trainers/runners, and give peace of mind when walking in icy conditions.

Enjoy all that snowfalls have to offer, as they can create magical sceneries. Ice storms too - it’s a photo opportunity for sure. Go build that snowman - be a kid - it’s lots of fun.

Ottawa is famous for its Winterlude festival, and skating on the Rideau Canal. I only know this in theory, of course, as I’ve only visited Ottawa in warmer weather. :wink: :sunglasses:


Not in Ottawa, but close, in Prince Edward County, a popular tourist spot about 2.5 hours drive. Let me know if you take a trip out this way at all :slight_smile:

I do spend Christmas in Ottawa with family every couple of years and let me warn you, Ottawa in the winter gets COLD. You’ll be fine if you’re dressed for it but I can’t stress enough to bring good, warm boots, jackets, hats & mitts!

And my top snow shovelling tip? Throw money at it and get someone else to do it :rofl:


I’ve been to Canada twice and both times in the winter! I’ve promised myself that next time it will be in the summer. Make sure to take thermal underwear, lots of layers. Trouble is, when you go into a restaurant or pub you have to take them all off! That was my experience anyway! Good luck with the snow shovelling etc!


Warm-up a bit before as with most exercises. Lift with your legs, not with your back. Take your time. I’ve shoveled up to 4.5 meters of snow over several hundred square feet (in 10-30 centimetres snowfall) for more than 20 winters. Never hurt my back. We had a snowblower but I used it only at the end of the winter when the snow banks were too high (more than 6 feet) to put the new snow on top.

Another important thing is that although it is tempting to postpone shoveling wet snow to the next day because it’s heavier, watch out for temperature drops during the night. If the snow freezes it becomes way harder to shovel if not impossible and then you have to deal with that iced layer for the rest of the winter making shoveling more difficult and hazardous. Take it from someone who procrastinated once or twice over the years and had to pay for it dearly. :cry:


@Smiley for those who have not been to Canada, and know very little about it, I must defend our weather, even though I prefer to escape from its winters. Otherwise people may wonder why us crazy Canucks live here. :smirk:

It’s a large land mass with a wide range of weather patterns. I live in Southern Ontario, and have Eastern Ontario friends who call Niagara the banana belt. Our weather is far milder than theirs. I don’t own thermal underwear, don’t wear any hat or ears muffs, and don’t own a full-length coat. I rarely get snowed in to the extent where we’re advised not to travel unless it’s essential.

British Columbia generally gets milder weather than Niagara, although global weather patterns have shifted their normal conditions. I have a friend who lives in the middle of the country, in Winnipeg Manitoba. When she’s often experiencing -40 Celsius (-40F) and I ask why she lives there, her answer is that at least it’s a dry cold, unlike Niagara. She said she couldn’t live in Niagara. We all adapt to our surroundings, I suppose. :snowman_with_snow:


Some great answers here. My suggestion is to shovel frequently during a heavy snowstorm. Better to push 2-4" off multiple times, than to have to shovel a foot all at once.

It also really depends on the temperature. Where we live in Kelowna, BC, it’s usually cold enough that the snow is dry - light and fluffy and easy to shovel.

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Layers! I wear a tank top under everything (since I’m a female over 60), so I can peel down when I go into a shop. Also, if I’m going into a mall or extended time indoors at my destination, I leave my heavy jacket, gloves, hat etc in the car and run inside wearing a lighter sweater only.


Ahh shoveling snow … there is something quite therapeutic about seeing a cleared driveway … only to look out and hour later and see it covered again :sweat_smile:

My introduction to Canadian winters was in Alberta … -30 snow on snow and driving on a skating rink for months at a time but as with everything in life you adapt and I learned to love the winters.

Back to shoveling the white stuff, secret is to clear frequently and If you are lucky enough to have the use of a snow blower, which is a bit like having the use of a ride on lawn mower, it makes an essential job easier and even enjoyable.

As for the weather in Canada … Alberta is a Province of extremes, winters can get to -40 it can snow in September and through to March/April, there is no humidity, snow is crisp and dry, hair can stand on end with static electricity but the sun always shines.

Homes are built for the cold as are many of the major towns and cities. In some you need never come to the surface you can live “underground” we would often BBQ on the deck at 20 below and summers are often hot, hot, hot … if you’re lucky you can spend it at a cabin by the lake.

Arranging a house and pet sit in Alberta is the best way to experience living like a local and if you’re a skier and like winter sports there’s no better place to be. … aA for temps, I’ve been colder in London at 0 degrees than in Alberta at -25 it’s dry cold, not one that seeps through to your bones and with the sophisticated extreme weather clothing today all you need to be careful of is covering your face and making certain dogs in your care are well protected and you can enjoy the whitest of winters.

British Columbia is very much like UK weather and being in the the Upper Pacific Northwest can be wet and grey in the winter but without extreme temps.

Vancouver Island is a very special place & boasts the most temperate weather in the whole of Canada ….“You can walk through dense temperate rainforests of moss-draped trees to see grizzly bears fishing for salmon. Paddle along the rocky coastline and in sheltered bays in a kayak. Take a boat trip for close-up views of orcas and dolphins. Stroll deserted beaches strewn with driftwood in the north of the island, or spend a relaxing couple of days browsing the art galleries and wineries of Salt Spring Island, between Vancouver Island and the mainland”

Canada is a country of great diversity and I know I’m biased but it’s one everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime and the best way to experience it … pet and house sitting.