Affordable winter activity gear guide for newcomers

By Raven Smith-Grange

Posted on December 13, 2021
hockey rink on a lake

Newcomers looking to find affordable recreational winter gear, look no further!

Winter is fast approaching, which means cold weather and lots of snow. But lower temperatures doesn’t necessarily mean there are less things to do and see.

The colder weather also brings winter activities and sports. For many of these types of activities, you will need special clothing and equipment. As a newcomer, a great way to discover new hobbies and meet new people is to participate in fun seasonal activities. However, many newcomers wanting to try outdoor winter sports face financial, location, language, and information barriers.

Here is a guide to making the most of Canadian winter sports as a newcomer.

Types of winter sports

There are many winter sports available to take advantage of:

  • Tobogganing – an activity where people slide down a snowy hill with a narrow sled known as a toboggan
  • Snowshoeing – a walking activity where snowshoes are attached to winter boots, making it easier to walk through the snow and not sink
  • Skating
  • Skiing
  • Hockey
  • Snowboarding
  • Hiking


Retail stores to purchase equipment

Play it Again Sports

Play It Again Sports is a sporting goods store with locations in Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. They offer gently used and new sports equipment at a lower price than traditional stores. Play It Again Sports also has an online website.


Walmart is a department store chain across Canada. Walmart sells house products, groceries, electronics, clothing, and of course recreational winter items. In comparison to sporting goods stores, Walmart is on the affordable side. They sell hockey sticks, hockey bags, hockey skates, and different gear for other sports. Walmart has physical stores and an online website.

Sporting Life

Sporting Life is a collection of stores that sells sporting goods. Sporting Life offers sports clothing, equipment, accessories, and footwear for kids and adults. The items at Sporting Life can be considered expensive, but the store also has sales.

Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire is a retail store with both physical stores and an online website. The store sells equipment for cars, outdoor living, home, pets, and recreational activities for all seasons. They have sales and offer items at clearance prices. Prices range from lower priced items to more expensive items.

Free services


Four libraries in Montréal, Que. provide free sports equipment to the public. Libraries include: Mordecai-Richler, Saul-Bellow, Marie-Uguay, and Rosemont. People wanting to borrow equipment can make a reservation through phone or in-person, and they must have a library card.

The equipment people can borrow according to this website are: Children’s sleds, snowshoes for adults and children, snowshoe tails, walking poles, and crampons. Crampons are a device that attaches to winter shoes to improve traction on ice and snow.
More information can be found here.


Calgary Flames Sports Bank

The Calgary Flames Sports Bank helps Alberta families by providing hockey equipment to those who have trouble affording it. According to their website, they collect gently used equipment via donations and also purchase new equipment as needed. One of the goals for the program is to make hockey accessible for kids. Families can apply to the program through two ways.

Option 1

The first way to participate in the sports bank is through a registered organization.

Some of the registered organizations include KidSport, Alberta Government Child Health Benefit, Alberta Government Income Assistance Program, Jump Start, and the Calgary Fee Assistance Program. A full list of the programs can be found here.

If a family is a part of these programs, they can complete a Calgary Flames Sports Bank Parent/Guardian application form with required documentation. Once the form is signed, the form can be emailed to The Calgary Flames Sports Bank will then contact the family to schedule an appointment.

Option 2

If a family is not a part of these programs, according to the sports bank, they can apply to KidSport. Once the family receives approval from Kidsport, they can follow the steps in Option 1.

Winter activity programs for newcomers


The NHL/NHLPA and Canadian Tire First Shift Hockey Program provides families who are new to hockey, a chance to experience the sport. The program does have a registration fee of $229. The fee covers providing “head-to-toe” equipment, equipment fitting, and the welcome event according to the website.
hockey skates and stick


The Newcomers Explore and Appreciate Toronto Mentorship Program, also known as NEAT, offers their Wintegration program. The program allows newcomers of different ages to participate in outdoor activities.

Programming involves free trips and events including skating, tobogganing, hiking, and other activities. Participants will need to provide their immigrant information according to the website. NEAT uses Meetup to promote their services.

Like or share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *