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

Film Festivals, Fall Fairs, and Fun

The leaves changing in Ottawa, Ontario
  DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images 

September is a great time to visit Canada. The weather is comfortable and the fall foliage is spectacular. Canada offers some of the best hiking, boating, camping, and fishing destinations. The temperature is moderate enough that most outdoor activities can still be enjoyed. Now that summer is over, children have returned to school and airline and lodging deals are starting to surface. 

Canada Weather in September

Canada is the second largest country in the world by area—3.8 million square miles.

As such, if you know where in Canada you are going, for example, major cities like VancouverToronto, and Montreal, then you can get a better picture as to the temperatures and weather in Canada. For example, Toronto records some of the country's warmer temperatures with an average high of 70 F. Meanwhile, the Northwest Territory and Nunavut in the North are averaging low temps that are approaching freezing.

City/Province or TerritoryAverage Low TempAverage High Temp
Vancouver, British Columbia50 F64 F
Edmonton, Alberta37 F63 F
Yellowknife, Northwest Territory37 F50 F
Inukjuak, Nunavut36 F46 F
Winnipeg, Manitoba43 F66 F
Ottawa, Ontario49 F68 F
Toronto, Ontario49 F70 F
Montreal, Quebec49 F 68 F
Halifax, Nova Scotia49 F66 F
St. John's, Newfoundland46 F 61 F

What to Pack

Pack for the fall season. You can expect some brisk mornings and evenings where you will want to have a sweater, hoodie, pullover, or fleece top.

You'll likely want to wear long sleeves and pants. Certainly, bring a light jacket for mornings and evenings. If you are traveling to the North or visiting the mountain areas, you should bring a heavier coat and gloves. A good rule of thumb whenever you are unsure of the upcoming weather, bring clothing that is easy to layer.

September Events in Canada

September sees the start of many fall-themed fairs and film festivals. Pumpkin festivals, fall color festivals, and wine and food celebrations dot the country.

  • Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival: In Vancouver from May until the end of September, you can enjoy a Shakespearean performance against a natural backdrop of sea, sky, and mountains.
  • Vancouver Fringe FestivalThe Vancouver Fringe is a celebration of all kinds of theatre. The Mainstage shows are literally drawn out of a hat, giving all artists, from novice to veteran, a chance to participate. The Fringe presents live unjuried, uncensored theatre in an accessible and informal environment. All artists receive 100 percent of regular box office revenues generated during the festival.
  • Vancouver International Film Festival: From the end of September into the first two weeks of October, the film festival will screen more than 300 films from scores of countries. Films span fiction, documentary, and genre-defying categories. 
  • The Word on the Street Festival: This is a national festival held in Halifax, Saskatoon, Lethbridge, and Toronto on one day in September in each of those cities offering author events, presentations, workshops, and a marketplace that boasts an exceptional array of current and back-listed books and magazines to browse or buy.
  • Cabbagetown Festival: Toronto hosts a day-long giant street fair with a kid's zone, street vendors, and food vendors with music and entertainment for the whole family.
  • The Toronto International Film Festival: The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world attracting more than 480,000 people annually, screening more than 375 films from more than 80 countries over 10 days.
  • Beer WeekToronto's Beer Week is a series of events dedicated to showcasing the best of Toronto craft beer over seven days in September.
  • Summer Music in the Garden: The summer concert series at Toronto's Harbourfront Center features 18 free concerts in the summer up through the middle of September showcasing outstanding artists and a wide range of musical styles. Concerts take place most Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. and are approximately one hour in length. Bench seating is limited, so feel free to bring a blanket or lawn chair.
  • The Montreal World Film Festival: This 10-day film festival begins the last week in August and wraps up a few days into September.  It is one of Canada's oldest international film festivals and in the only competitive film festival in North America that is accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, the Paris-based organization responsible for regulating the world's prestigious film festivals.​
  • The Gardens of Light: Hundreds of handmade silk lanterns from China combine to create a fantastic Asian ambiance at the Montreal Botanic Garden during September and October.

September Travel Tips

  • The first Monday of September is Labor Day. Banks and most stores will be closed. Expect crowds that weekend.
  • Canada has its own currency—the Canadian dollar—however in border towns and at major tourist attractions (like Niagara Falls) U.S. currency may be accepted; it is at the discretion of the proprietor. When in doubt, use a major credit card, which is widely accepted throughout the country.
  • If your trip spans from the end of August into September or is at the tail end of the month with part of your trip in October, there are plenty of activities in those months, too.