Visiting Canada in the Summer

The Weather's Fine, and There's Lots to Do

Triathlete trains on mountain road, sunrise
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Canada in the summer is the most popular time to explore the country's wide range of both urban and more remote, adventurous destinations. Though Canada in the winter has its charm, summer is high travel season, and many more travelers arrive in June, July, and August. While more crowds and higher prices may be the downside, warm weather and lots of outdoor activities are the perks that many find hard to resist.

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    Log Cabin at Lake O'Hara, Canada
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    Summer officially starts on June 21 and ends Sept. 21, as it does throughout the Northern Hemisphere. These dates generally coincide with the beginning and end of relatively warm weather, but temperatures fluctuate greatly year to year and depend on where in Canada you are. 

    Summer in Canada is generally June to August with hot, humid weather often arriving earlier and staying later than this in central and eastern Canadian cities like Toronto and Montreal. West Coast summers are more moderate, with less humidity and cooler evenings. Canada's northern regions, logically, have cooler summers, but ones that are generally comfortable and sunny. Keep in mind that many people consider July to be prime time for a visit. 

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    Young couple relaxing on lake pier
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    Highs in June range from the low 60s F in St. John's, Newfoundland, to the mid-70s F in Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario, with lows in the 40s and 50s F across the country. It warms up in July, with afternoon highs in the 70s F across most of Canada and nighttime lows mainly in the 50s F. August is very similar to July, but September is a precursor to fall, with afternoon highs falling into the 60s F and nighttime lows dropping into the 30s and 40s F.

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    How to Pack

    Packing for a summer vacation to Canada
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    If you travel to Canada in summer, remember that layering is your friend because temperatures and weather are unpredictable, and even in the summer, it can be a little bit chilly at night. Some useful items include a lightweight jacket or sweater, long pants or jeans (for cooler temperatures and sun and bug protection), shorts, capri pants for women, long- and short-sleeve tops, sunscreen, bug spray, hat, and sunglasses. Take sandals and some closed-toe shoes like sneakers in case it gets cool or rainy. Since layering is so important, it's smart to have your wrap in a neutral color that will harmonize with all the rest of the clothes you've packed so you can use it no matter what you are wearing.

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    Lake Louise,Banff National park,Alberta
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    Canadians and visitors alike head to more remote regions in Canada during the summer months to relax at lakeside cottages and resorts. Hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, water sports, and camping are all popular across Canada. More urban destinations, like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, get the party going with festivals and other summer events. 

    Summer travel can mean a shopping trip to Toronto, a scenic train ride through the Rockies, or whale watching in eastern Quebec. Or do a deep dive into Montreal, called the Paris of North America, and delight in French food and architecture without jet lag. 

    Two major theater festivals are big draws in Canada every summer: The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Stratford Festival in Stratford, both in Ontario.

    Or check out the quaint towns of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for an out-of-the-way and out-of-the-ordinary experience on the Atlantic Coast.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    Caribana Parade Toronto
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    Canada's summer festivals range from big, colorful city celebrations to small cultural events.

    The most popular summer festivals in Canada include the Calgary Stampede, held every July; Caribana, which celebrates Caribbean culture every summer in Toronto; the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival in July; the world-renowned  Montreal Jazz Festival in June and July; the​ Vancouver Celebration of Light, the largest fireworks competition in the world held over three nights every summer; and the  Toronto International Film Festival every September.