Canada Weather, climate and geography
If you’re planning on skiing or enjoying winter sports, the best time to visit Canada is between December and April, though some resorts open as early as November and extend their seasons as late as June (or even July on Whistler’s glacier). If you want to enjoy the great outdoors without the snow, travel between May and September. Be aware however, that if there’s been heavy snowfall during the winter, some high-altitude hiking trails may be closed well into July. May, June and September are typically cheaper than July and August, but you’ll get the best of the weather in the latter two months.
Summer thunderstorms are common throughout Canada. Occasionally, these may become severe. Tornados also occur throughout Canada, with May to September being prime months. The peak season is June and early July in southern Ontario, Alberta, southeastern Quebec, and a band stretching from southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, through to Thunder Bay. The interior of British Columbia and western New Brunswick are also tornado zones. Earth tremors occur in the western mountains. Forest fires can occur at any time, regardless of the season, particularly in the grasslands and forests of western Canada.
Note: These general guidelines apply mainly to the settled areas of southern Canada. Travellers heading to northern areas, such as the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Labrador, should bring warm clothing for all but the summer months (and even in summer, at least a lightweight jacket is advisable). See the individual provinces and territories sections for more details.
December/January/February: Winter temperatures. Winter clothing is necessary (eg overcoat, hat, boots and gloves). Heavy snowfall in most provinces, with Vancouver being the main exception in that it usually rains instead.
March: Moderate temperatures. Winter clothing with some mediumweight clothing.
April: Milder days but the evenings are cool. Mediumweight clothing including a topcoat and umbrella is recommended.
May: Warm days but cool at night. Mediumweight and summer clothing recommended.
June: Warm. Summer clothing with some mediumweight clothing for cool evenings. The weather in June is ideal for travel and all outdoor activities.
July/August: These are the warmest months of the year. Lightweight summer clothing is recommended.
September: Warm days and cool evenings. Light- to mediumweight clothing recommended.
October: Cool, with the first frost in the air.
November: Cool to frosty. Medium- to heavyweight clothing is recommended. First signs of snow.