The Best Time to Visit Toronto, Canada

Toronto-city

Getty Images/Naeem Jaffer

 

The best time to visit Toronto is typically in the spring (April and May) or during the fall (September to early November). At these times, you'll likely find fewer crowds, cheaper accommodations, and the best weather for sightseeing as it is neither too hot or too cold.

Whenever you decide to visit Toronto, use this guide to help plan your visit to this city known for its wide range of cultural attractions, unique neighborhoods, great shopping, thriving craft beer and culinary scenes, lovely beaches, fun festivals, and more.

Popular Events and Festivals

Toronto has events throughout the year that attract visitors from all around the world, especially during the summer. These events cover everything from food and beer, to music, culture, and film. No matter what you might be interested in, there will likely be a summer event happening that piques your interest. If you’re interested in visiting Toronto but not planning on attending any summer events, it might be better to time your visit with shoulder or off-peak season (April and May, October and November) to see the city without the crowds.

The Weather in Toronto

Toronto has four distinct seasons: summer, fall, winter, and spring with temperatures dipping quite low in the wintertime (as low as 32 degrees F in February) and getting up to 81 degrees F in July.

Winter in Toronto is cold, but surprisingly the climate is slightly more moderate than many other big Canadian cities, like Montreal, Edmonton, or Winnipeg. Of course, the use of the word "moderate" might seem crazy to someone with Canadian winter sensibility. It's still bitterly cold, and the average temperatures are sub-zero. Gloves, parkas, proper winter boots, and hats are a given. Most snowfall occurs from December through March, with an annual average of 52 inches. Snowstorms can be sudden and intense and affect traffic and air travel.

However, Toronto can get super very hot and humid during the summer. July and August average over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but evenings and lakeside locations can be much cooler.

While it might be preferable to visit during the warm summer months, each of Toronto’s four seasons offers something different. For instance, if you love viewing the fall colors, October is a great time to visit as the city offers many opportunities to see vibrant fall canopies both in the city and just outside of it. Alternatively, during December (when temperatures really start to dip), Toronto is filled with holiday events, and there are many public skating rinks throughout the city.

Peak Season in Toronto

For tourism, peak season in Toronto is typically during the summer months, particularly July and August. This is when the city’s many beaches get busy, patios are packed, and summer events are in full swing. Attractions across the city are also at their busiest during peak season, especially popular sights like the CN Tower, Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Hockey Hall of Fame.

That being said, Toronto’s peak season doesn’t match that of say, Paris or New York City, so you’re likely to still be able to move around comfortably, albeit with more lineups and busier attractions.

January

This is off-season for Toronto, so crowds should be relatively minimal, and hotels and other accommodations are usually cheaper. Attractions are open and much less busy than during warmer months. But the city is cold, so pack accordingly if you’re planning to see Toronto in January. Also note that New Year's Day, January 1, is a statutory holiday so expect many businesses, services, and government offices to be closed.

Events to check out:

  • Culinary event Winterlicious happens every year in late January to early February, where prix-fixe menu promotions take place at over 200 Toronto restaurants.
  • Next Stage Theatre Festival happens in January (the 9th through the 20th in 2019) and is one of the city's premier winter theater events.

February

Weather in the city remains cold and windy in February meaning it's still off-season in Toronto during February.

Events to check out:

  • Check out some epic ice carvings at Bloor-Yorkville Icefest, which happens in February.
  • Tea drinkers have the chance to check out the Toronto Tea Festival in early February including tastings and educational seminars.

March

While temperatures begin to inch up, March can still be quite cold in Toronto with the possibility of snow still high. There are warm days, but it’s still important to come prepared for inclement weather if you’ll be visiting in March.

Events to check out:

  • Beer fans can sample all kinds of brews at Winter Brewfest, which typically happens in early March.
  • Through mid-March, visitors to Toronto can take advantage of Winter at Ontario Place. The free event features a huge light exhibition, bonfires, a skating rink and more.

April

The city is slowly warming up in April, but the weather can still be quite unpredictable. You might get some sunny days, but April also sees rain and sometimes, even snow—nothing is guaranteed at this time of year. Because the weather is decent (but still might not be suitable for the beach yet), schools are still in session, and it's not yet peak season for tourists, this is a good time to check out local attractions.

Events to check out:

  • Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, will be happening April 25 to May 5, 2019.
  • Toronto ComiCon presented by FAN EXPO CANADA is happening March 15 to 17, 2019.

May

May is generally consistently warm in Toronto but not quite summer (or beach-ready) temperatures, making it a good time to visit. Prime tourist season has yet to ramp up, but weather is optimal, and there are fewer crowds.

Events to check out:

  • Canadian Music Week happens in May in Toronto for a chance to see a wide variety of live shows.
  • See some of Toronto’s most interesting buildings during Doors Open Toronto, which happens towards the end of May.

June

June is much more reliable weather-wise, with consistent sunshine and warm weather daily. While June doesn’t represent peak season, Toronto does begin to see more tourists at this point in the year.

Events to check out:

July

July is typically the hottest month in Toronto and as such, one of the most popular times of year for tourists. Summer festivals are in full swing, and the city’s beaches and patios are packed.

Events to check out:

August

Like July, August is a hot month in Toronto and remains a popular time for visitors. Beaches are a draw, as well as many events, concerts, and festivals.

Events to check out:

  • Get your fill of Greek food (and food of all kinds) at Taste of the Danforth, which happens in August in Toronto.
  • The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) brings rides, carnival games, live music, food and much more to Toronto towards the end of August.

September

It can still be quite warm in September (and far more bearable than in August), but the later you get, the more unreliable the weather is likely to be once September hits.

Events to check out:

October

The weather gets steadily cooler during the end of September and into October, but weather-wise, this is one of the best times to visit.

Events to check out:

  • The annual Cask Days Beer Festival celebrating cask ales (unpasteurized, unfiltered, and naturally carbonated beer) happens each October in Toronto.
  • There are many events throughout Toronto in October celebrating all things spooky in honor of Halloween.

November

This time of the year is when fall turns to winter and the weather will change accordingly, getting windier and often rainy. You may even see some snow in Toronto in November.

Events to check out:

  • A popular event in Toronto during November is the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair featuring agricultural displays, more than 2,000 agricultural competitions, family activities, cooking demos, lots of great food, and more.
  • Cavalcade of Lights, the lighting of Toronto's official Christmas tree, is a fun November event that happens near the end of the month.

December

December starts to get cold in Toronto, and there is a high likelihood of snow. Days can still be on the milder side and remain relatively comfortable if you’re dressed in layers. This is also when Toronto is in full festive mode for the holidays.

Events to check out:

  • The Toronto Christmas Market is a great way to get in the holiday spirit in Toronto in December and where you’ll find the historic Distillery District strewn with sparking lights, vendors selling artisanal goods, holiday foods, and more.
  • For even more festive fun, you can also visit the Holiday Fair in the Square at Nathan Philips Square.