August in Canada: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

The Great White North Turns Golden With Sunshine in Summer

Lake Moraine in Banff National Park
Lake Moraine in Banff National Park. Tobias Alt/Tobi 87/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Canada stretches 3,000 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the northern U.S. to the Arctic Circle, so the climate, as you would expect, varies greatly across the country. But throughout the 10 provinces and three territories in Canada, August brings temperate weather and long hours of sunshine to the Great White North.

It makes perfect sense that Canada, with its wide array of outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, camping, and fishing, attracts plenty of tourists in the summer. In addition to hosting visitors from around the globe, Canadians themselves take to their cars or hop on planes and trains to take a vacation on their home turf when schools let out for summer.

Summer Considerations

The world’s second largest country by landmass contains a comparatively minuscule population, so solitude and wilderness experiences abound. But during the height of the summer season, it’s a good idea to make reservations for hotels, restaurants, transportation, tours, and tourist outings near the major population centers.

The first Monday of August is a civic holiday in most Canadian provinces. The August long weekend means banks and most stores close. Expect crowds that weekend and use caution on the highways.

Canada Weather in August

Canadian summers tend to be hot and dry on the prairies, humid in the central provinces, and more mild on the coasts. It stays cooler the farther north you go, but you’ll find the majority of Canada's most popular destinations in the southern part of the country. Ontario, with its position between Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes, often logs the country’s highest humidity readings.

Atlantic Provinces

The easternmost region of Canada includes Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Novia Scotia, and New Brunswick and has the most variable climate. In August, you may encounter heavy fog on the coast, particularly in the early mornings, and plenty of rain. Daylight lasts up to 15 hours in the northern reaches on the longest days.

Charlottetown, PEI

  • Average High: 73 degrees Fahrenheit (22.8 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14.4 degrees Celsius)

Halifax, NS

  • Average High: 73 degrees Fahrenheit (22.8 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius)

Saint John's, NF

  • Average High: 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12.2 degrees Celsius)

Central Canada

The most populous part of Canada, this region contains Quebec and Ontario provinces. In August, this region averages 10 to 13 days of rain, with 3 to 4 inches of accumulation. Daylight lasts from 14.5 to 15 hours on the longest days.

Montreal

  • Average High: 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.6 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 62 degrees Fahrenheit (16.7 degrees Celsius)

Ottawa

  • Average High: 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.6 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14.4 degrees Celsius)

Quebec City

  • Average High: 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24.4 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14.4 degrees Celsius)

Toronto

  • Average High: 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 64 degrees Fahrenheit (17.8 degrees Celsius)

Prairie Provinces

Canada's breadbasket, the prairies stretch from the Great Lakes in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. Though typically hot and dry, the summer months actually bring more moisture to the prairies than the winter, with seven rainy days on average in August.

Edmonton

  • Average High: 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22.2 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11.1 degrees Celsius)

Winnipeg

  • Average High: 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius)

West Coast

Canada's most temperature region, the West Coast encompasses scenic British Columbia. With more than 15 hours of daylight at its peak and little rainfall in August, the mountainous terrain makes this Canada's outdoor playground.

Vancouver

  • Average High: 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22.2 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 57 degrees Fahrenheit (13.9 degrees Celsius)

Victoria

  • Average High: 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.8 degrees Celsius)

Northern Territories

This rugged region encompasses Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon. At the peak of summer, daylight stretches for 24 hours in some areas. The Arctic climate means short, cool summers, with significantly more rainfall than in other areas of the country.

Iqaluit

  • Average High: 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11.1 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3.9 degrees Celsius)

Whitehorse

  • Average High: 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 44 degrees Fahrenheit (6.7 degrees Celsius)

Yellowknife

  • Average High: 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 51 degrees Fahrenheit (10.6 degrees Celsius)

What to Pack

Evenings turn cool in many places after the sun goes down, so bring layers that adapt to ever-changing temperatures and climates. You'll want hiking shoes with good wool or synthetic socks (not cotton) and a wide-brimmed hat for protection from the northern sun, along with rain gear. You should also plan to carry sunblock and bug repellent with you.

A small backpack makes sense for both outdoor exploration and city sightseeing. It's a good idea to always carry a headlamp and a refillable water bottle.

August Events in Canada

Communities throughout the country celebrate the long summer days with festivals and events that welcome visitors.

Atlantic Provinces

  • St. Stephen Chocolate Fest: Full of delicious family-friendly entertainment and chocolate-themed meals, this week-long event in takes place in "Canada's Chocolate Town," St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

Central Canada

  • Kempenfest: This is one of the largest and longest-running outdoors arts and crafts festivals in North America, with antiques, music, food, and other entertainment in Barrie north of Toronto on Lake Simcoe.
  • JerkFest: You don't have to be on your worst behavior for this Toronto-area event, which highlights jerk food, a Caribbean specialty.
  • The Shaw Festival: This multi-venue theater festival in Canada's wine country takes place from April to November in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Prairie Provinces

  • Canada's National Ukrainian Festival: Typically held during the first weekend in August, this event showcases the national and ethnic pride of the largely Ukrainian-descended population of Dauphin, Manitoba.
  • Folkorama: The largest multicultural festival in the world takes place during the first two weeks of August each year in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • John Arcand Fiddle Fest: Workshops, main stage performances, and contests celebrate the music and culture of the fiddle in Regina, Saskatchewan.

West Coast

  • Harmony Arts Festival: On the West Vancouver waterfront, this festival features musical and theater performances, fine and culinary arts, and cultural events.
  • Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival: Celebrating the lumberjack lifestyle, this action-packed event includes axe throwing, tree climbing, and birling in Squamish, BC.

Northern Territories

  • Dark Sky Festival: Located in the world's largest dark sky preserve in Wood Buffalo National Park, this annual August event is hosted by the Thebacha & Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.
  • Slave River Paddlefest: Whitewater enthusiasts come from all over to participate in kayak rodeos and races, stand-up paddleboard jousting, and all kinds of guided activities in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.

August Travel Tips

  • Average August weather in the Canadian provinces varies widely from hot and humid to rainy to cool. Check the local weather forecast at your destination before you travel.
  • Expect higher prices and more travelers in the popular summer season and plan accordingly. For the best availability, make reservations ahead for accommodations, transportation (planes, trains, ferries, rental cars), and tours.

Consider the pros and cons of visiting Canada in each season with our guide on the best time to visit.