May in Toronto: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

What to Expect When Visiting Toronto in Late Spring

Waterfront in Toronto

TripSavvy / Kristjan Veski 

Planning a trip to Toronto this spring? In May, you can expect a short, but mild spring season. This warmer weather means that visitors can enjoy more of the city's great outdoor offerings, such as dining al fresco on one of Toronto’s many patios, going on a walking tour of the city, or enjoying the many parks and green spaces throughout Toronto.

Springtime also means that the full throng of summer tourists has not yet arrived, but you might miss out on some of the most popular festivals and events that are not yet underway. That being said, near the end of the month is Victoria Day, a national holiday that brings out a large number of international tourists and locals. In general, May is a pleasant time of year to visit Toronto with quite a few events going on to enjoy.

Toronto Weather in May

Canada may be known for record-breaking low temperatures, but if you're visiting Toronto in May, you can expect mild weather during your stay. During the daytime, it will be warm, but evenings can still be chilly. In Toronto, the average high temperature is 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) and the average low temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius). Occasionally temperatures may rise to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), but this is rare for May. This month also tends to be slightly rainier than April, but it is still less rainy and humid than the upcoming summer months.

What to Pack

Because rain is typically expected for 11 out of the 31 days in May, you will no doubt want to bring a raincoat, umbrella, and water-resistant footwear, such as rubber boots. For dry weather, bring comfortable closed-toed walking shoes, especially if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing on foot.

You will also need to bring a wide range of clothing pieces that can be layered. These items include T-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, light pants, heavy slacks, and a light jacket. Though you probably won't be soaking up the sun at the beach, bring a sunhat and wear sunscreen to protect your skin, even on cloudy days.

May Events in Toronto

Though the city sees the bulk of it its festivals and events during the summer months, there are still quite a few things going on in May. In 2021, some events may be canceled or postponed so be sure to check with official organizers for the latest details.

  • Victoria Day: Victoria Day is a national holiday in Canada that falls on the Monday prior to May 25 each year. Expect all government services, schools, and banks to be closed.
  • Artfest Toronto: Toronto’s historic Distillery District typically schedules Artfest in the middle of the month. The event showcases a curated selection of 80 artists from across Ontario, Quebec, and beyond. Art being featured ranges from painting and photography to sculpture and jewelry.
  • Hot Docs International Documentary Festival: Beginning at the end of April and running until the first week of May, Hot Docs is the largest documentary festival in North America featuring over 200 thought-provoking films from Canada and around the world. The festival will be streamed online in 2021 from April 29 to May 9.
  • Scotia Bank Contact Photography Festival: Photo buffs take note. Founded in 1997, Contact is the largest annual photography event in the world and takes place throughout the entire month of May, featuring over 200 exhibitions. In 2021, the festival will be held virtually.
  • Doors Open Toronto: This free festival showcases 150 architecturally significant buildings that open their doors to the public during this popular event which is typically scheduled for the end of the month. Toronto was the very first city in North America to host this event, and it remains one of the best around. In 2021, this event has been canceled.

May Travel Tips

  • Victoria Day is a national holiday in Canada (falling on May 24, 2021) and most businesses will be closed. The majority of the city’s main attractions, however, should still be open.
  • The weekend around Victoria Day is commonly referred to as "May Two-Four Weekend." Traffic is inevitable on the highways beginning on Friday and runs until Monday evening. You will also encounter long lines at all of the border crossings.
  • Thanks to the weather, May is a great time to take advantage of Toronto’s parks, of which there are many throughout the city.