Climate and weather in Canada by month
A land of vast open spaces, amazing nature and pristine climate, the motto of which is “From sea to sea! – is Canada .
Climatic zones in Canada
Canada is located in an area where the consequences of the Ice Age, as well as the Earth’s internal forces have the greatest influence on the country’s current climate. Some regions do resemble prehistoric areas, except that ancient mammoths are missing for an even more believable “picture” of the landscape.
The north of the country is sparsely populated because of the harsh climate conditions. The influence of the Arctic Ocean forms there a special weather – cold and wet, it is almost always “minus”. In the south, where the warm currents rule, the temperature is above zero during the year, and even in winter it does not drop below 5 degrees Celsius.
Almost 10 million square kilometers are crisscrossed with climate belts, although there is a temperate climate throughout the country:
- temperate continental – central Canada (maximum precipitation in summer; temperatures in winter to -25°C, in summer to +26°C)
- temperate maritime – coastal (mild winters and cool summers: nights to -10°C in winter and maximum +22°C in summer; highest amount of precipitation in winter and autumn: 1,300 mm on the Atlantic coast and 2,000 mm/year on the Pacific coast)
- arctic type – on the islands of the Canadian Arctic archipelago (very cold in winter – down to -45°C, maximum in summer +10°C; not much precipitation)
- subarctic in the north of mainland Canada (Yukon and Mackenzie Basins; down to -35°C in winter, +20°C in summer)
- altitudinal belt – in the eastern Cordilleras and Edmonton
- subtropical marine – southwest Canada, near Vancouver (always above freezing in winter, lots of rainfall – up to 5000 mm/year)
In the capital of Canada, Ottawa – rainy mild climate – a lot of cages (up to 1000 mm per year), maximum – 15 ° C in winter, in summer – up to +27 ° C.
Canada is the world’s leading producer of maple syrup, doughnuts, and beer. Canada also has the third largest oil reserves in the world.
The difference in weather conditions in Canada is influenced by its vast territory, more than 200 thousand kilometers of coastline in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans, and peculiarities of relief (for example, there is a huge inland sea – the Hudson Bay).
Canada, which has the second largest territory in the world, possesses 20 percent of all the freshwater on the planet! The province of Ontario alone has a quarter of a million freshwater lakes, and Canada has more than two million lakes in total!
Long, lingering winters, short summers and the transitional seasons between spring and autumn are key features of Canada’s climate.
With almost 350 million hectares of forest, Canada has one of the world’s largest “lungs of the planet” alongside the Amazon.
Canada’s tourist seasons
Canada is sometimes compared to … Mars. And this is not just a beautiful allegory. The fact that in Canada, recorded the temperature, which can be analogous to the temperature on the surface of Mars. In 1947 in the Canadian town of Snag, which is located in the Yukon Territory (the far north of Canada with a population of only 30,000 people) the temperature reached 63 degrees below zero!
The most extreme settlement not only in Canada, but also in the world is the northern scientific town of Alert – 800 km from the North Pole! The settlement is located in the state of Nunavud, on Ellesmere Island. By the way, in the same state, only on Devon Island is a test site for the National Space Agency of Canada. The landscape of the island is very similar to the Martian, so there are flight tests and scientific experiments to reproduce a variety of processes identical to those that may occur on Mars.
To avoid entering the country during “Martian” temperatures, and still visit Canada at a comfortable time, it is worth knowing what is considered the best time to visit.
Tornadoes are not uncommon in the southern Canadian provinces between May and September.
The high season is summer (June-September) and the low season is winter.
What clothes to bring.
To avoid getting frostbite if you are going to visit Canada in winter, you should choose the southwest provinces, although even there in winter you need a good set of warm clothes (and it is better to take a warm down jacket, on the spot analogues like CanadaGoose will cost about $700). Winter in Canada is not only frosty, but also windy, which makes the temperature feel 5-10 degrees below the actual. Shoes – better leather, with good fur and no heels, plus – a pair of sports shoes.
Interestingly, much of Canada has less gravitational force than the rest of the planet. This amazing phenomenon was discovered in the middle of the last century, and confirmed by data from special satellites. The reason is the restoration of the Earth’s crust after the Ice Age and the processes in the mantle. The average person does not feel the difference in the force of gravity, but in fact, with the same mass of the body, its weight will be about 300 grams less than elsewhere on Earth.
In summer, of course, depending on where you’re going, but shorts and shirts are needed less often than jeans, pants, t-shirts and long-sleeved sweatshirts. For the evening be sure to wear something warm (a sweater, for example). Always with an umbrella. Sturdy shoes, athletic sneakers – will be comfortable in late spring, early fall and summer.
In spring and fall it is often dank, windy and cold. Therefore, a windbreaker, hat and warm pants are a must.
Canada has a population of about 35 million people (compared to 39 million in California, a U.S. state). In all, about 350,000 people a year come to the country. At the same time, up to 18 million tourists visit the world-famous Niagara Falls, which is located on the border between the U.S. and Canada!
For a ski vacation – the proper equipment, and for a beach vacation – swimsuits.
Don’t take too much – you’ll have to pay dearly for excess weight (32 kg per seat is calculated for flights to North America – a maximum of two pieces of luggage per person).
Keep in mind that Canada has six time zones!
What else you’ll need:
- an adapter for power outlets (110-volt power in Canada)
- medications (prescription drugs are expensive in Canada, and less effective).
The system of “hotel” stars does not work in Canada (by the way, and breakfast is not included in the price). A letter designation has been put into practice:
- T (Tourist Class) – budget hotels, motels, hostels, campings, in general – two-three-star tourist hotels
- F (First Class): three stars, good service, clean, but small rooms
- S (Superior) – four stars
- D (Deluxe) – deluxe hotels, the equivalent of five-star.
Weather in Canada by Month
In November, it’s winter in Canada. Snow falls everywhere except in the southern regions. In the north, the snow cover is permanent. November is characterized by strong cold winds, a sharp drop in temperature – up to 15 degrees below zero.
Ski resorts Banff, Mont Tremblant in the east, and Whistler-Blackcomb welcome skiers as early as November. At Whistler-Blackcomb, snow is firmly in place until April 25.
Winter temperatures average 35 degrees below freezing in the north.
On December 5, Canada celebrates Christmas. By the way, in this country it is easy to write a letter to Santa Claus – and the address is known (Santa Claus, North poles H0H 0H0, Canada), and the answer will surely come. From December 31 to January 1, Canadians celebrate the New Year. On Christmas Eve there are many tourists in Canada, as the winter is very beautiful, with lots of snow. Both winter fairy tale lovers and extreme vacationers come here at this time.
January is considered the coldest month in northern mainland Canada, with temperatures as low as -35°C.
Winter in February is harsh and snowy. In most parts of the territory. For example, in Toronto, the southernmost million-dollar city, it’s -20°C in winter, very snowy, and sunny.
March and May
Spring in Canada comes late and it is short. With lots of rain, wind and temperature change, you won’t get consistently warm weather until late May. For most of the area, March is considered the last month of winter. Firstflowers cover Canadian landscapes in April, but foliage appears rather late in April and May. In the Lake Ontario area, spring is practically a couple of “transition” weeks from winter to summer. In April, there are extreme skiing competitions in British Columbia.
In late May, Canadians in the province of Quebec widely celebrate the national Patriots’ Day.
Summer does not arrive until the second half of June, or even closer to the beginning of July. And it is not summer as we know it – average temperature is only 20 degrees Celsius. There is no heat wave in Canada. Summer can last the longest in the west of the country.
Remarkable peculiarity – Canadians count the beginning of seasons not from the first number of months, but from 21, for example, summer begins on June 21.
The average summer temperature in the north is four degrees below zero. But in the largest of the cities, Toronto, summer can be very warm. Local Canadian forecasters and meteorologists use a temperature called “feels like…” rather than the actual temperature (on the thermometer). There are also special terms – humidex in summer and windchill in winter. In summer, the actual +30 ° C due to high humidity, windchill and other reasons, can feel like +39 ° C or even +50 ° C.
In summer, the water warms up well in the fresh, shallow lakes to +25°C. On the coast of Ontario, there are many well-appointed beaches, and the water is crystal clear. You can also find comfortable beaches in: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec (Magdalene Island and Gaspes Peninsula); Long Beach on Hornby Island (British Columbia), a beautiful Pacific beach for swimming; and Parley Beach in New Brunswick, near Vancouver. It is warmest in British Columbia, where it reaches up to +35°C in summer.
Water temperature in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans is seldom above +18°C even at the end of July.
Canada Day is celebrated on July 1 in the summer.
Autumn comes quickly. A sudden cold snap can come overnight. Then, in an instant, forest-covered Canada is transformed – green-yellow-red foliage covers the mountains and plains – panoramas as if from a picture. It is perhaps the most beautiful time of the year. You should take into account that in mid-October the leaves are already falling, so you still have time to see the “golden autumn”! The weather in fall is unstable – it often rains, turning to wet snow in October. There is a chilly wind. In Toronto, autumn is lingering, warm and very beautiful. There can be warm days even in December.
With many national parks, protected areas, and unique preserves, Canada holds the record for preserving nature and its native diversity.
Canada’s Climate: A Multitude of Weather Variations
Canada extends across most of North America’s land mass and has maritime borders on three oceans: the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic. The country’s considerable length, varied topography, and vast coastline influence Canada’s climate. A large part of the territory is located in a temperate climate zone, and there are five of them across the country.
A brief overview of climate zones
The east coast weather is influenced by continental and Atlantic air fronts. You can feel the influence of a temperate maritime climate with frequent changes in atmospheric pressure and precipitation.
The proximity of the Arctic Ocean and the predominance of the subarctic belt affects the temperatures in the north, where -30 … -35 ° C is usual in winter.
The islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago lie in the region of the Arctic zone with severe weather, winter temperatures there approach -45°С.
The Pacific coast to the west is under the influence of a warm current, which leads to mild winters (+4 ° C) and comfortable weather in the summer (+20 ° C). Because of the Rocky Mountains the climate of Canadian provinces in the center – the prairies – is characterized by a mild climate, with precipitation in the summer season and temperatures of +25 ° C.
Only in the southwest, near Vancouver, do temperatures remain below freezing even in winter. The subtropical maritime type of climate provides this area with high rainfall and warm summers all year round.
Let’s understand what Canada’s climate is like at different times of the year.
Beginning in November, snowy winters begin everywhere in the country. Therefore, -3 … -6°C during the day and -8 … -10°C at night for December are typical temperatures. Snow cover reaches an average of 50 mm, with the exception of Vancouver, where the maximum precipitation falls in the winter months – 180 mm. The thermometer in Vancouver never goes above zero – it rains in winter.
January is the peak of cold weather. Conditions vary by region: While the norm for the south of the country is +4 ° C at night and +6 ° C during the day, in the Great Lakes and coastal areas the night temperature is -11 ° C and the daytime -9 ° C.
Canada’s coldest city with an average annual temperature of -12° C is Sneadge, located in Yukon Province. In 1947, record winter temperatures of -63°C were recorded there.
It is also snowy and frosty in February. For the southernmost city – Toronto – the usual temperature is -2 ° C, while in Ottawa it will be colder by a couple of degrees, and in the north -30 ° C and below.
The average daily temperature in Canada in winter, by month, is shown in the table below.
Short spring season
The arrival of spring is felt with the onset of April, and in March there is only a slight increase in daytime temperatures, which contributes to the beginning of the melting of the snow cover.
Average March temperatures were +2°C during the day and -7°C at night. But April weather makes significant adjustments, as evidenced by the daily temperature variations of 10 degrees.
In most of the country there are not more than 4 rainy days with precipitation of about 40 mm, except for the east, where it falls to 80 mm.
In April, the first flowers appear, and the mass appearance of greenery is at the very end of the month and in May. Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal are at their most inviting for walks in May with daytime temperatures of +16 to +19°C. In the central part of the country during this time, the daytime temperature is no more than +15 ° C.
See the table below for an idea of Canada’s climate by month in spring:
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About the charms of the summer season
With the onset of summer, which is rather the middle of June, the weather is comfortable. Nights are already warm enough +10 … +15 ° C, and during the day the air warms up to +20 … +23 ° C. Even the temperature of coastal waters reaches +19 ° C.
The few rainy days of the month bring up to 90 mm of rainfall. Canada in summer is very attractive for tourism, especially sightseeing.
Although temperatures rise throughout the country in July and August, you won’t feel hot, but rather warm. Only in the south, the air temperature reaches +35 ° C. The water temperature on the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on average does not exceed +18 ° C. Much higher temperature in shallow freshwater lakes – +25 ° C.
Crystal clear water and beautiful beaches await vacationers in Quebec, Nova Scotia, on the coast of Ontario.
See the chart for average daytime temperatures during the summer tourist season in Canada.
The autumn period is quite unpredictable. September is still a reminder of the departing summer, but in the evenings and nights it is much cooler. The average temperature during the day is +20 … +21 ° C, slightly warmer in the southern part of the country. On the Atlantic coast during this time, the water retains a temperature of +21 ° C.
In Canada, the fall cooling is an overnight affair. The fragrant green outfits of vegetation transform before your eyes, giving way to autumn decorations of incredible colors. But it doesn’t last long – in the second half of October the leaves begin to fall, and the rainy weather becomes more frequent.
By the end of the month the rains are replaced by wet snow, and the dank wind chills the weather. In November the thermometers are below zero almost everywhere, and in the mountains the temperature is -30°C. The Vancouver region has the wettest weather in October and November.
This table shows daytime temperatures in Canada in the fall.
Regional climatic features
Given the fact that geographically the countries are located in the same latitudes, the climate of Canada and Russia are very similar. Let’s dwell a little on the weather conditions of separate regions.
In the northern part, sub-arctic and arctic sub-regions are distinguished. This is a huge area with harsh weather conditions, where winter reigns for half the year.
In addition to the vastly different length of daylight hours, humidity, and average temperatures of the north and south of the country, there is also a distinction:
- Rocky Mountain region;
- prairies (steppes);
- the coasts, the East and West;
- the Great Lakes region.
Changes in weather patterns are clearly visible in the Canadian highlands of the Cordilleras. Coniferous forests predominate in the northern highlands. As you move south, they are replaced by steppes (50°N), and the far south is covered by subtropical vegetation.
There are some unfavorable climatic features of Canada, which tourists should be aware of. These include tornadoes, which often occur from May to September in several provinces: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta.
A little about the tourist seasons
A characteristic feature of Canada is the beginning of the seasons, which here it is customary to count from the 20th of the month. For example, summer tourist tours begin from June 21.
For the rest are organized not only a variety of excursions, but also eco-tourist expeditions.
Tourists are offered helicopter rides to Niagara Falls and trips to the Bay of Fundy. Adrenaline-seekers can climb Mt. Tor and parachute down its granite peak.
Autumn brings with it a plethora of festivals. For fans of skiing the ski centers of Whistler-Blackcomb, Mont Tremblant and Banff are open from November to March.
Fans of snowy winter are welcome during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities. Winter travelers also want to visit the Rideau Falls, which create fanciful ice sculptures, and admire the beauty of the northern lights in the mountains.
In spring, thousands of people flock to Ottawa for the popular Tulip Festival.
Dress for the Trip: What to Pack
Depending on the region and the purpose of the trip, you need to gather the right closet for the trip.
- Even in summer will be more appropriate jerseys, pants and jeans than the light shirts and shorts.
- If a beach vacation is planned, you will need swimsuits. Do not forget about sweaters, because the evening without them will be cool.
- It is better to take a pair of shoes without heels and be sure to have sneakers, which are useful for any season (in winter – insulated).
- For spring and fall trips will require warm clothes: jacket, pants and a hat. In the off-season the weather is often cold and windy.
- For winter travel get a down jacket and warm leather shoes with fur, and skiers need to remember about the appropriate equipment.
Do not stuff your suitcases with unnecessary things. For flights to North America the norm per person accepted no more than 2 pieces of luggage at 32 kg each. It is expensive to pay for excess weight.
Journey to the protected areas
Each year, the extraordinary beauty of Canada preserved in pristine condition, attracts a huge number of tourists. Canadians are proud of their natural complexes and carefully protect them. Together with Amazonia, millions of hectares of Canadian forests form the largest “lungs” of our planet.
The uniqueness of Canada is also in the fact that its territory is just full of fresh water lakes (over 2 million) and the fresh water reserve of this country is about 20% of the whole world’s water reserve.
Not without reason Canada is considered a record-breaking country which managed to save variety and virginity of human habitat. You should come and see the pristine beauty just for the sake of it.