The seasons in Canada are:
Fall or Autumn - September 21 to December 20
In Kingston, the temperature range is historically from -9° to +20° celsius (C). September is almost as warm as the summer but October through to December can often require winter clothing. Buy high-quality winter coats with hoods, long pants, sweaters and waterproof boots or shoes for you and your family.
Winter - December 21 to March 20
In Kingston, the temperature range is historically -25° to +3° C. Snow falls and stays on the ground most of the time. January and February are the coldest months of the year and can be bitterly cold. It can be so cold outside that it is dangerous to go out with any skin exposed. Get thermal underwear tops and bottoms and wool socks for you and your family. Windproof hats, thick mittens, scarves and warm, waterproof boots are essential. For more information, see our Learning to Love Winter information or consider attending our "Learning to Love Winter" session. The session usually takes place in early October. You can find the exact date on our Calendar of Events.
Spring - March 21 to June 20
In Kingston, the temperature range is historically -6° to +21° C and there is a lot of rain during this period. In March and April, you will need to wear sweaters and windproof and rainproof jackets and rainproof shoes. In May and June it gets warm enough to go outside without a coat on.
Summer - June 21 to September 20
In Kingston, the temperature range is historically 11° to 30° C. Summer is sometimes very hot and humid while at other times it is wet and windy. Your family should have shorts and T-shirts but also sweaters and long pants.
To find out the weather for the day, listen to any Kingston radio station or look at the front page of any newspaper. Another resource is Environment Canada's weather website or the Weather Network website. The weather report gives the temperature in degrees Celsius and information on the amount of rain, snow and sun that we will have.
Note: The dates of each season are according to the calendar. Unseasonably warm or cold weather is always possible. It is important to be prepared.
Another way to decide what to wear is to look outside and see what most people walking by are wearing. However, it is always better to put on extra layers of clothing if you are not sure of how many you will need. Then you can take one or two layers off if you get too hot during the day. It is especially important, if you have children, that they are warmly dressed for school as part of the day is spent outdoors.
If you are not used to northern climates, talk to the staff at the Centre about other ways to prepare yourself so that it is not such a shock. Despite the cold, there are a lot of fun activities you can do in the winter if you are warmly dressed. The Queen's University International Centre plans activities to help you and your family discover and enjoy winter games like skating.
Reducing Culture Shock
Feelings of anxiety from being immersed in a new culture is called "Culture Shock". Although Canadians come from a very wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the environment is bound to be different than the one you are used to, and many things will be done differently and can cause confusion.
Most of your experiences in Canada are going to be pleasant ones. However, if you have a disagreeable experience, please talk it over with someone of your cultural background who has been in Kingston for a while, or discuss it with one of the International Student Advisors at QUIC. Through discussion with others, feelings of anxiety or anger can be diffused and made easier to cope with.
Another way to help you understand and manage the differences in culture and values is to learn about the history and culture of the community. Participate in activities that include Canadians and International students and their family members. This will lead to friendships that will enable you to cope with culture shock.
Some ways offered by the Queen's University International Centre to learn more about Canada and Canadians.