Where to Go in Canada in May

  • 01 of 06

    Get an Early Start on the Summer Travel Season in May

    ••• Ottawa in spring is especially popular due its tulip festival. Photo © Dennis McColeman / Getty Images

    You're not so precious that you will only travel to Canada during the summer months, are you? July and August, with all their sunshine and warmth, hog the majority of visitors to Canada, but other times of the year, such as May - and spring in general - have much to offer, including cheaper rates, fewer crowds and unique activities. 

    If you alter your expectations and arrive with a realistic attitude (and some waterproof clothing), you will get great value and enjoyment by visiting Canada in the waning winter month of May.

    But where to go? Here are some recommendations for the best places to go in Canada in May. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Take in the Tulips in Ottawa

    Ottawa Tulip Festival
    ••• Each year, the Canadian capital city of Ottawa holds its tulip festival. Dennis McColeman / Getty Images

    Since 1945, Ottawa has celebrated the blossoming of local tulips with a festival that has grown to the three-week, city-wide event it is today.

    The tradition began when Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs in appreciation for the safe haven offered to exiled Dutch royalty and the role Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands. 

    Not merely a botanical display, the Canadian Tulip Festival (its official moniker) comprises live music, a vintage carnival and circus, food stands and more. 

    Read More: Best Ottawa Attractions, Winterlude Guide

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  • 03 of 06

    Get a Ski Tan in Whistler

    ••• Roundhouse at top of Whistler Mountain. Photo © Chris Cheadle / Getty Images

    The Whistler ski season is lusciously long. In May, when most every Canadian ski resort has had their end-of-season party, Whistler and Blackcomb still have ski life left in them. The snow has had months to pile up and the days are long. True, you may not be able to surf fresh powder, but you do get fewer crowds, major spring ski discounts, longer days and of course the coveted goggle tan. 

    In 2016, Blackcomb Mountain is staying open till May 30. 

    Check out the Whistler/Blackomb page for travel deals. 

    Getting from Vancouver to Whistler

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  • 04 of 06

    Honour the Monarch in Victoria

    Victoria Harbour, British Columbia
    ••• Victoria Harbour, British Columbia. Stephanie Hager - HagerPhoto / Getty Images

    It seems fitting to give a nod to the city that shares its name with one of Canada's most celebrated holidays: Victoria. The British Columbia capital city that sits gorgeously at the bow of Victoria Harbour on the southern tip of Vancouver Island is named for Queen Victoria - the British monarch - and so too is the start of summer holiday that takes place the third week of May: Victoria Day. 

    Conditions in Victoria, B.C., in May are just about perfect for exploring this modern city that is nevertheless full of history. The summer rush of tourists and summer temperatures have yet to arrive. In May, you will be greeted with dry, comfortable temperatures in the range of 14 ℃ to 18 ℃ (59 ℉ to 65 ℉). Flowers and greenery are in full bloom and the sunshine is out for about 15 hours a day.

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  • 05 of 06

    Miss the Crowds in Calgary

    Canada, Alberta, Calgary city skyline across Bow River in day time
    ••• John E. Marriott / Getty Images

    Though July is when the throngs of cowboys and cowboy wannabe's arrive to the city to partake in the Calgary Stampede, Calgary and the Canadian Rockies are peaceful and beautiful in May. Though a dump of snow is not out of the realm of possibility in May, it is unlikely and the shoulder travel month means lower rates for flights and hotels. 

    Calgary is not just the perfect gateway to Rocky Mountain features, like Banff, Jasper, and the Icefields Parkway, but it is becoming a cultural hub with an increasing presence of museums, theatre and live music.  Don't worry though, line dancing is still a well practiced past time - and workout. Be sure to put a visit to Ranchmans on your itinerary for lessons.

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  • 06 of 06

    Spot Whales and Icebergs in Newfoundland & Labrador

    ••• Surfacing humpback whale with iceberg in background, Newfoundland. Photo © Rolf Hicker / Getty Images

    Spotting two of nature's gigantic aquatic beauties - whales and icebergs - together doesn't happen often but Iceberg Alley - a stretch of ocean along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador - is where your chances are best.  May and June are the optimum months to see both.