While cold temperatures may immediately come to mind when thinking of Canada, weather here varies widely depending on where you are. After all, Canada is a huge country, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and covering five time zones. Canada's most southern tip lines up with northern California and the northern-most regions stretch beyond the Arctic Circle.
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Cities in Canada
Generally, Canada's most populated regions are the regions not too far north of the U.S. and Canada border and include Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. These cities all have four distinct seasons, though they are vastly different and some more distinct than others. Temperatures and climate from British Columbia's interior, east to Newfoundland are comparable but do vary depending on latitude and mountainous topography.
Aside from just what the thermometer reads, weather conditions are important to understand before arriving in Canada. From slippery driving conditions in winter to how many hours of sunlight to expect, learn about what weather to expect in major Canadian cities—and be sure to pack accordingly.
Winter in Vancouver rarely sees snow stay on the ground, but is cool and rainy. In addition, Vancouver summers are warm but not as hot and humid as its eastern counterparts. The weather in Vancouver sees its highest temperatures in July and August, with an average high of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius), and its coolest temperatures in January, with an average low of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degree Celsius). Beware of flash freezing during the winter months, in which precipitation can cause temperatures to dip below freezing, causing ice on the roads and sidewalks.
Keep in mind that weather in Montreal has four distinct seasons when planning your trip. Visiting Montreal in the summer? Be ready for hot, humid temperatures with an average high of 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius). In the winter, you can expect cold temperatures, with an average low of 24 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 4 degrees Celsius) and snow—even up to a foot.
The weather in Toronto is similar to North American cities like New York and Chicago. Its hottest month is July, with an average high of 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), and its coldest month is with an average low of 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 degrees Celsius). Cities in Toronto and east of there will generally get inches or even feet of snowfall from December to March.
The warm season in Calgary is from June to September, reaching an average high temperature above 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius). Winters here can be long and cold, with an average low of 12 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 11 degrees Celsius). And keep in mind, the rainy season in Calgary lasts from May to September, with it peaking in June.
Halifax can get up to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) in August, with an average high temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius). It gets chilly here in the wintertime, with an average low of 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 degrees Celsius).
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Spring in Canada
Spring is a beautiful time to visit Canada. Everything is coming alive again after the winter, and temperatures are starting to rise. Spring comes first on the west coast in February, and ramps up in the other parts of the country in late March and April, and lasts until June. Temperatures range from 19 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 7 to 19 degrees Celsius).
British Columbia and Ontario are both perfect picks for spring.
What to pack: Spring can have its cold days, so bring a heavier jacket just in case. Be sure to bring enough layers so you can be comfortable in warmer and cooler temperatures.
Summer in Canada
Summer temperatures can range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 27 degrees Celsius) in some regions. While humidity is at its peak in the summer months, it's still very comfortable in most regions.
Halifax and Calgary are two beautiful spots to visit in the summer months.
What to pack: While it can get warm during the day, remember that the nights tend to be cooler. Again, layers are your best option here. And if you're going to be taking advantage of any outdoor activities, don't forget the sunblock and bug spray.
Fall in Canada
Some may argue that fall is the best time to visit Canada for the perfectly cool temps, beautiful fall foliage and less crowds. Temperatures can go from an average low of 27 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 3 degrees Celsius) in November to an average high of 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius) in September.
Montreal and Toronto both have warmer temperatures in fall.
What to pack: Similar to springtime, layers and a slightly heavier jacket are important for those chillier days. Bring along some hats, scarves and gloves too, just in case.
Winter in Canada
Winter temperatures can get as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in the interior provinces. The coldest places in Canada are mostly in the north in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, where temperatures regularly dip to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 30 degrees Celsius) and colder. The populations of these northern locales are relatively small; however, Winnipeg, in southern Manitoba, is the world's coldest city with a population of at least 600,000.
If you're skiers, Whistler and Banff offer breathtaking trails.
What to pack: Be ready to bundle up. You'll need a heavy winter coat, long underwear, thick wool socks and snow boots to keep you warm.