Survival of the warmest

January 20, 2009

So it was cold last week – damn cold. -37 windchills ain’t going to make any trip outside pleasant, especially if you’re still part of the walking masses who are bitterly cursing the continued lack of transit.

The question then becomes: where to get the gear that will protect you from the elements?

Get bundled up, find a comfy snowbank, and have yourself a tasty snowy treat!

Get bundled up, find a comfy snowbank, and have yourself a tasty snowy treat!

1. MEC – yes, it’s quickly becoming standard-issue Canadian clothing. But they’ve got good quality, reasonably priced winter wear that will last you for the next few bitter winters to come. Plus, you’ll match at least half of the people in Ottawa!

2. Bushtukah – a little more upscale, Bushtukah has a good range of brands – but don’t be afraid to ask one of the knowledgeable staff for help. You might need it to understand the outdoorsy lingo that permeates the conversations in this store.

3. Tommy and Lefebvre – with six stores across Ottawa, this chain will have what you need (or one of the other locations will). They can also have pretty good sales – keep an eye out for these so you can stock up on the essentials!

4. Mark’s Work Wearhouse – sure, we’re not all lumberjacks. But we all still could use a trip to Mark’s for a good pair of wool socks and half-mitten/half-gloves. Plus, they’ve got boots that will keep your feet nice and toasty.

5. The Expedition Shoppe – with a good selection of travel gear (heading down to somewhere warm? get your travel backpack here!), they’ve also got a fair showing of parkas, boots and other warm wear.

Remember: layer up! This is the only time of year when wearing longjohns can be considered fashionable (and even then, it may be a stretch for some), so take advantage of it!


Problem Solever

January 7, 2009

BootsEvery October the search begins.

No matter what’s in my closet – what state my current pairs are in or how much I spent on last year’s purchases – I set out to buy a new pair of winter boots.

Sometimes, I don’t quite find what I’m looking for and end up purchasing a few “almost right but not quite right” pairs before I find just what I’m looking for. (If I ever find it).
It can be a pretty costly venture. Especially, if you don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing so you look outside the Montreal – Ottawa – Toronto limits.

My two main criteria for winter booths are style and warmth – usually, in that order. Since I don’t drive/have a parking spot/a car/a bus pass and my boots are my winter vehicle, I’ve smartly given up on boots with four inch heels. Flat boots are a winter necessity.

But Flat boots are often problematic; their soles are too thin. This causes two problems: 1) you feel the cold earth under your feet; 2) the soft soles get used up pretty quickly and your fancy leather boots are rendered useless after a few long walks.

Solution: re-soling.

It’s cheap, about $30. And not only solves problems 1 and 2 but also 3) Stops you from slipping when walking on dangerous surfaces like grids, ceramic floors (what’s up with the EQ3 entrance?) and mall entrances.

Here are a few places to try:

Capital Shoe Clinic, 203 Queen Street (corner Bank)
Bytown Shoe Repair, 341 Dalhousie St
Earth Watch Shoe Service, 427 Laurier Ave. W