October is a great time to visit Canada. The weather is cool yet comfortable and the fall foliage is spectacular. Most outdoor activities can still be enjoyed comfortably with a little extra layering.
Across Canada, October weather conditions will be cool with some precipitation, but pleasant. Snow is not common unless you really head to the northern provinces, but most visitors to Canada head to the southern parts of the country, within 250 kilometers of the U.S. border.
The beginning of October brings typical fall weather (think light jacket) but as the end of the month rolls around, it can turn to downright nippy (heavy coat required).
Another reason to visit Canada in October is that you'll find fewer crowds, compared to July and August. Pleasant weather and shoulder season travel bargains make October an ideal time to visit most places across Canada. Since the prices are good, consider extending your trip to include several of the country's top destinations.
While, in general, you'll find fewer visitors in October, keep in mind that the second Monday of October is Thanksgiving. Banks and most stores will be closed, but expect crowds that weekend.
Things to See and Do in October
Fall foliage has peaked in some Canadian spots by mid-to-late October; the more northern locales will reach their color summit earlier. If you travel in early October, you'll probably run into some stunning displays of fall color.
Complementing the fall colors are loads of seasonal festivals, including pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple-picking, farm open houses, and fall fairs. In addition, Canadian Thanksgiving always takes place the second Monday of October. Key festivals and events are a draw during October, including:
- Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival, Various locations, Alberta
- Vancouver Int'l Film Festival, end of September - early Oct: Vancouver, BC
- The Stratford Festival (Theatre), May - October: Stratford, Ontario
- The Shaw Festival (Theatre), April - November: Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Celtic Colours International Festival, Begins Thanksgiving weekend: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
- Ottawa Food & Wine Show, October - November: Ottawa, Ontario
- Oktoberfest, Two-week festival (largest Bavarian festival in North America) ends the first Sunday of October: Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario
Average temperatures in Canadian provinces vary widely. Checking the average temperatures will help you pack for your October getaway to Canada.
Average October Temperature (Low / High)
- Vancouver, BC: 43 / 57 F (6 / 14 C)
- Edmonton, AB: 30 / 52 F, (-1 / 11 C)
- Yellowknife, NWT: 27 / 34 F, (-3 / 1 C)
- Inukjuak, NU: 30 / 36 F, (-1 / 2 C)
- Winnipeg, MB: 32 / 52 F, (0 / 11 C)
- Ottawa, ON: 37 / 55 F, (3 / 13 C)
- Toronto, ON: 39 / 57 F, (4 / 14ºC)
- Montréal:, QC: 39 / 55ºF, (4 / 13 C)
- Halifax, NS: 39 / 55 F, (4 / 13 C)
- St. John's, NF: 37 / 52 F, (3 / 11 C)
The Current Results website provides additional weather information for a range of Canadian cities and provinces.
What To Pack
Clothing needs vary depending on what part of Canada you will be visiting and what part of October you'll be traveling.
Most anywhere in Canada has the potential to be chilly enough to warrant a jacket, fleece, sweater, gloves, hat and long pants. The beginning of the month could be warm enough for a t-shirt during the day, yet in the evening you'll want your warm jacket. The answer is, of course, layers.