Vancouver in March: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Vancouver skyline with mountains

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While early spring in other parts of Canada, particularly Montreal and Toronto, are a continuation of winter's cold conditions, the weather in Vancouver is just starting to warm up. In March, the weather is pretty mild, especially when you compare it to other parts of the country.

You will find spring blossoms in bloom, and cherry blossom festivals beginning to take place. This month, like so many others in Vancouver, has plenty of rain. You should prepare for a downpour on any given day, but you shouldn't let a little precipitation discourage you. Vancouverites are quite used to the rain in British Columbia, so there will be plenty to do in Vancouver in March, even on the rainiest days. 

Vancouver Weather in March

The temperatures in March are typically mild, usually staying between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 10 degrees Celsius). It can get cold, and temperatures will sometimes drop as low as 16 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 degrees Celsius). While Vancouver is relatively warm compared to the rest of the country, March is a wet month; more than half the days this month will see some rainfall. Although the days are getting longer, Vancouver experiences nearly constant overcast skies in March, and sunny days are few and far between. However, over the course of the month, it is gradually getting less windy and less cloudy.

What to Pack

You can leave the heavy-duty winter wear at home, but you should still pack a warm and waterproof coat. You will still need sweaters and a light jacket, as well as some T-shirts and tank tops for layering. Because of the rain, waterproof shoes or even rain boots will be necessary, and a good raincoat and an umbrella are must-haves. On the chance you experience a rare warm and sunny day, a hat and close-toed sandals may come in handy.

Robson Square ice rink
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March Events in Vancouver

With spring blossoms blooming, Vancouver has a lot to celebrate and they know how to do so in style with March events that promise wine, dancing, and much more. In 2021, some events may be canceled or postponed. Consult the websites of official organizers for the latest details.

  • Festival du Bois: This is a celebration of Canadian folk, Celtic, and world music, dancing, and culture, with a French twist. This three-day event is also the largest and most attended Francophone festival on the west coast of Canada. Normally held in March, the festival was postponed to April 16 in 2021.
  •  Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival: In the tradition of Japanese culture, where the festivals began, people gather to celebrate the arrival of spring under the blooming cherry blossoms. Keep in mind that the dates for this festival vary each year, sometimes taking place in April, depending on the weather. The festival lasts all of the cherry blossom season, sometimes longer, and includes a Japan fair, bike rides, picnic, concert, and more. In 2021, the festival officially begins on March 1, but official programs will be held virtually.
  • Vancouver International Dance Festival: This annual festival features contemporary dance performances from troupes and dancers from around the globe. In 2021, performances will be streamed online from March 4 to June 19.
  • Vancouver International Wine Festival: Here, you can sample over 150 wines with pours from over a dozen different countries available. It's considered to be the best wine event in North America, but the 2021 iteration was officially canceled.

March Travel Tips

  • Some of the best hotel rates and package specials all year can be found from January to March. Since the weather starts to warm up, and prices are still low, March is an excellent time for budget travelers to come to Vancouver.
  • Spring ski season at Whistler/Blackcomb is well underway by the time March rolls around, so snowbound travelers should book their accommodation in advance.
  • Despite the frequent rain, or perhaps because of it, there's plenty of things to do indoors on a rainy day, so you don't have to let a forecast stop you from enjoying what the city has to offer.
  • On Vancouver Island, storm watching is a favorite past time and March is the best month to see these powerful storms roll across the ocean and whip up powerful waves.
  • Whale watching season doesn't technically start until April, but you may be able to spot a whale at the end of the month if you're lucky.
  • Ski resorts and Vancouver's most popular attractions get crowded during March Break when all local public school students are on holiday. The break lasts for two weeks, usually in the second half of the month. If you'll be in town then, book any tickets and reservations well in advance and prepare for longer wait times and larger crowds.