July is a prime time to visit Canada, which is made apparent by the throngs of other travelers there during this warm but pleasant month. Canada is an enormous country with a great variety of destinations drawing visitors, so it's wise to make reservations for hotels, restaurants, transportation, and tours during this high travel season.
Canada offers a wide array of outdoor activities like hiking, boating, camping, and fishing. In addition to guests from around the world, Canadians themselves take to their cars or hop on planes and trains to take a vacation on home turf.
For the most part, Canada in July is warm or very warm and may be humid depending on where you are. The more north you go, the less warm it is, but the vast majority of Canada's most popular destinations are in the southern part of the country, so there you'll have warm, summery conditions. Evenings can still be cool, though, so pack layers in order to adapt to ever-changing temperatures.
The complete gamut of summer festivals, including Canada's biggest birthday party, Canada Day, is in full swing, making good use of the long hours of daylight in this northern country.
Canada Weather in July
Canada's nearly perfect weather in July is one of the top reasons travelers choose this month to visit. These are the average lows and highs in some of Canada's major tourist stops:
- Vancouver, British Columbia: Low, 55; high 72 Fahrenheit
- Edmonton, Alberta: Low 48; 73 Fahrenheit
- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: Low 54; 70 Fahrenheit
- Inukjuak, Nunavut: Low 41; 55 Fahrenheit
- Winnipeg, Manitoba: Low 55; 79 Fahrenheit
- Ottawa, Ontario: Low 59; 79 Fahrenheit
- Toronto, Ontario: Low 57; 81 Fahrenheit
- Montreal: Quebec: Low 59; 79 Fahrenheit
- Halifax, Nova Scotia: Low 55; 73 Fahrenheit
- St. John's, Newfoundland: Low 51; 68 Fahrenheit
Rainfall varies with expected rainfall being lower in July than in most months. Vancouver, B.C., averages 1.7 inches falling over seven days. Calgary, Alberta, expects an average of 2.6 inches over 13 days, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, averages 4.3 inches over 12 days in July. Coastal areas are expected to be wetter than inland prairie areas, just as in the United States.
What to Pack
While milder climates offer warm weather during the day, it still gets chilly at night in many areas and a jacket or wrap is necessary. Bring a waterproof outer layer which ideally can double as your light jacket.
If you are taking advantage of outdoor recreation like hiking, biking, or fishing, pack your usual recreational gear and throw in sunscreen, a hat, and bug repellent. For sightseeing and local activities, sturdy walking shoes are ideal, especially if you are going to the Calgary Stampede or visiting the beautiful gardens of Victoria, B.C. for example. As far as evening wear, the larger, east coast cities will be more dressy than, for example, the small towns on Vancouver Island. And in rural areas, comfort is the norm rather than style.
July Events in Canada
Warm summer weather means visitors can enjoy more of Canada's great outdoor offerings, such as camping and fishing, but also be comfortable and not sweltering hot. Some of the most popular Canadian festivals and events are underway.
July 1 is Canada Day, a celebration akin to the Fourth of July in the U.S. Celebrations like fireworks and parades are generally held on this day. In major cities (except for Quebec) like Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia, celebrations begin early in the day and continue into the evening, with concerts, games, and other festivities. Quebec doesn't celebrate the holiday but may close offices and businesses.
Take a break from outdoor recreation in scenic B.C. and join other music fans at one of the area's top music festivals:
- The Vancouver Island Music Fest, which takes place annually in mid-July at the Comox Valley Fair Grounds, brings together Country-Western artists, Blues musicians, Hispanic bands, and even some Irish traditional sounds.
- The Vancouver International Jazz Festival takes place in late June through early July. The festival is held in multiple locations across Vancouver with 1,800 artists, 300 performances, 35 venues, and 150+ free shows.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba
Western Canada offers up several events that may be a focal point of your trip:
- K-Days in Edmonton, Alberta, formerly known as Klondike Days and Edmonton's Capital Ex, is an annual 10-day exhibition and fair with carnival rides, cultural exhibitions, food, and fun.
- Calgary Stampede is an internationally-known rodeo held in Calgary, Alberta with concerts professional rodeo, and specialty shows.
- The Winnipeg Folk Festival held in Winnipeg, Manitoba is billed as one of North America's premier outdoor music festivals.
- Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan runs from July to August and you can enjoy good food and performances in Saskatoon.
- The Stratford Festival (Theater), May to October, Stratford, Ontario
- The Shaw Festival (Theater), April to November, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
- Quebec City Summer Festival: The Festival d’été de Québec offers top-name musical entertainment on multiple stages as well as family activities.
Theater and Scottish festivals mark July in Eastern Canada:
- The New Brunswick Highland Games & Scottish Festival takes place in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
- Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Halifax brings in the pipes and drums and highland dancers in this fast-paced show that will give you a taste of Nova Scotian culture.
- Gros Morne Theatre Festival runs May to September in Cowhead, Newfoundland, and Labrador.
July Travel Tips
Summertime is high travel season, and you should expect higher travel prices and more travelers than at other times of the year. Last-minute planning could be difficult, so be flexible. You might not get your first choice in camping spot or hotel choice. Campsites fill up fast. Booking begins five months in advance of the date. Book with Parks Canada or with provincial websites (each province has a provincial parks system). July is usually mild, but it can see temperatures as high as 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and some destinations, like Toronto, are extremely humid so prepare for the variation if you are traveling across Canada.