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 

In September, Canada's weather is comfortable and the fall foliage is spectacular. This vast country offers some of the best hiking, boating, camping, and fishing destinations across its many provinces and the temperature is moderate enough in September that you'll have plenty of time to enjoy these activities. Not to mention, the end of the season means that family summer vacations have come to a close, kids are back in school, and airlines and hotels are likely dropping their rates.

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. Toronto records some of the country's warmest temperatures with an average high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Meanwhile, the Northwest Territory and Nunavut in the North are averaging low temperatures that are much closer to the freezing point.

City/Province or Territory Average Low Temp Average High Temp
Vancouver, British Columbia 50 F (10C) 64 F (18 C)
Edmonton, Alberta 37 F (3 C) 63 F (17 C)
Yellowknife, Northwest Territory 37 F (3 C) 50 F (10 C)
Inukjuak, Nunavut 36 F (2 C) 46 F (8 C)
Winnipeg, Manitoba 43 F (6 C) 66 F (19 C)
Ottawa, Ontario 49 F (9 C) 68 F (20 C)
Toronto, Ontario 49 F (9 C) 70 F (21 C)
Montreal, Quebec 49 F (9 C) 68 F (20 C)
Halifax, Nova Scotia 49 F (9 C) 66 F (19 C)
St. John's, Newfoundland 46 F (8 C) 61 F (16 C)

What to Pack

It may technically still be summer in September, but you should pack for fall weather—and maybe even winter if you are traveling further north or into the mountains. You can expect some brisk mornings and evenings where it's helpful to have a sweater, hoodie, pullover, or fleece top. It is a good idea to wear long sleeves and pants and have a jacket if you plan to go out in the evenings. If you'll be heading somewhere cold, pack a heavy winter coat, a scarf, and some gloves. In more southern regions, the weather could fluctuate more frequently between warm and cold, so bring clothes that can be easily layered.

September Events in Canada

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

In 2020, many of these events have been canceled or postponed, so be sure to check the official organizers' websites for the latest details.

  • Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival: From May until the end of September, you can enjoy a Shakespearean performance against a natural backdrop of sea, sky, and mountains in Vancouver. In 2020, the festival has gone online for Bard Beyond the Beach, featuring streamed performances, educational activities, and other virtual events from late August through mid-October.
  • Vancouver Fringe Festival: This fun theater event features more than 700 live, uncensored performances at various venues in Vancouver. The Mainstage shows give everyone from beginners to experienced artists an opportunity to participate. All artists receive 100 percent of box office income generated during the festival. The live events for 2020 will take place from September through November (or possibly December). Some virtual workshops will also be offered.
  • Vancouver International Film Festival: One of the largest film festivals in North America, the Vancouver International Film Festival screens movies from scores of countries. Films span fiction, documentary, and genre-defying categories. In 2020, the 39th annual festival is virtual and will be streaming more than 100 feature films and events from September 24 through October 7.
  • The Word on the Street: This national book and magazine event is held in the cities Halifax, Saskatoon, Lethbridge, and Toronto in September. Each of those cities offers author events, presentations, workshops, and a marketplace that boasts an exceptional array of current and back-listed books and magazines to browse or buy. For 2020, Lethbridge features an online fall reading series from October 8 through December 10, and Toronto's events run on September 26-27.
  • Cabbagetown Festival: The cute community of Cabbagetown in Toronto hosts a day-long giant street fair in September with a kid's zone, street and food vendors, as well as music and entertainment for the whole family. This event was canceled for 2020.
  • The Toronto International Film Festival: One of the biggest film festivals in the world, this Toronto event typically screens over 375 films from more than 80 countries over several days. The 2020 event running from September 10-19 includes online and drive-in events.
  • Toronto Beer Week: This gathering includes parties, night markets, and concerts dedicated to showcasing the best of the city's craft beer. Toronto Beer Week fun takes place at a variety of venues in September. This event was canceled for 2020.
  • Summer Festival: The concert series at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre typically features free summer shows through early September, which showcase outstanding artists and a wide range of musical styles. Concerts take place most Thursdays and Sundays and are approximately one hour. Bench seating is limited, so feel free to bring a blanket or lawn chair. This event was canceled for 2020.
  • 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. Thousands of visitors enjoy the lovely illuminated paths in the evening each year. This event was canceled for 2020.

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 from the tail end of September into part of October, there are plenty of activities in those months, too.
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