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 summer means that the family summer vacations have all come to a close, the 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 of—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 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 weather if you are traveling further north or into the mountains. 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 and have a jacket with you if you plan to go out in the evenings. If you know you'll be heading somewhere cold, you should 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 pack clothes that can be easily layered.

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

  • 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. In 2020, the festival has gone online for Bard Beyond the Beach, featuring streamed performances and other virtual events.
  • Vancouver Fringe FestivalThe Vancouver Fringe is a celebration of all kinds of theatre. The Mainstage shows are drawn out of a hat, giving all artists, from novice to veteran, a chance to participate. The Fringe presents live 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. In 2020, the festival is virtual and will be streaming movies from September 24 through October 7.
  • 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 typically features 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 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.
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