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Canada is a country that is often ignored in the international tourist market, even though it is full of adventurous opportunities and stunning scenery. From the cultural significance of the larger cities like Vancouver and Quebec, and the mind-blowing natural beauty of British Columbia, Canada has a lot to offer - you just need to know when to visit Canada to get the most out of the country. So, what is the ideal time for tourism, and what is the weather in Canada like? Read on to find out the best time to visit Canada!
- High Season: June - August
- Low Season: November - February
- All Seasons: March - May (spring), June - August (summer), September - November (fall), December - February (winter)
- November - April is the low season, due to the winter chills in Canada, but this is the ideal time to visit the ski slopes, and partake in any winter sporting activities.
- Fall and summer are ideal to visit the bigger cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec, etc.
Cape Breton, Ontario, Quebec, and much of British Columbia are best visited in fall when you can see the beautiful fall foliage all over - it is definitely a sight worth seeing.
- Between November - March, much of the northern parts (like the Yukon) and the maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland) close for the winter, so you might not have a lot of tourist offerings in these areas.
- Fall (September - October) is the best time to visit Niagara Falls.
If you want to know when to visit Canada, you have to think about what exactly you want to do. Canada is a huge country with a varied geography and climate, so there will always be something or another for you to do here, in any season. However, for most people, the best time to visit Canada is during the summer months. The warmer weather gives you many more opportunities to explore, and is ideal for road trips or exploring Canada’s wild landscape. The weather in summer is quite comfortable with often little to no rain, so if you wish to trek or go camping, the summertime is your best bet.
The second best time to visit Canada is during the spring and fall seasons. You will get great discounts on accommodation and travel and the scenery is absolutely magical! Moreover, there are a number of uniquely Canadian adventures taking place during the spring and fall seasons - including whale-watching, bear-watching and fishing!
April to May — Spring / Good Season
March to May is the spring season in Canada. The winter colds are over, and the heat slowly begins to rise, making the weather in Canada usually very pleasant during these months. However, watch out as this time can also be unpredictable — random snowfalls or cold rains are not unheard of in spring! Spring falls right before the peak season, so there won’t be as many tourists and the accommodation costs would also be lower.
- Avg. Temperature: 28 – 48° F / -2 – 9° C (in Toronto)
- Rainfall: 30 – 50 mm
- Season: Spring
- Highlights: This is the best time to visit Canada on a budget. You might want to avoid the northern regions and any other part that has received heavy snowfall, as this snow would be thawing, or still continuing, in March. April to May is a good time to go road-tripping in Canada, in places that don’t have the spring thaw. You can head north to watch humpback and beluga whales or go to British Columbia to spot bears that have just emerged from winter hibernation.
June to August— Summer / High Season
The months of June to August are easily the peak season for tourists in Canada. The weather is beautiful and warm, and most places don't see a lot of rain. This is the best time to visit Canada if you want to stay outdoors and experience the wonderful Canadian landscape. Bigger cities will face a lot of rush, so if you want to visit Toronto’s beautiful museums, be prepared for large queues.
- Avg. Temperature: 50 – 77° F / 10 – 25° C (in Toronto)
- Rainfall: 40 – 60 mm
- Season: Summer
- Highlights: The hiking trails up north, especially around Nunavut and Yukon, open up after being shut for the winter. These trails can stretch from one day to many weeks and will give you the opportunity to spot mountains, glaciers and lakes at their stunning best. There are at least two major festivals held during this season - the Festival de Jazz de Montreal, which is the world’s largest jazz festival (and the best part - entry is free!), and the Calgary Stampede, which is a grand celebration of cowboy culture. There is no end to the amount of fun you can have in summer!
September to October— Fall / Good Season
Fall is a beautiful season to be in the country. The weather in Canada is quite comfortable, though there might be some biting winds in certain areas. The colours begin to change all around the country. If you are a fan of fall colours, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Ontario have the most beautiful views in the months of September and October.
- Avg. Temperature: 46 – 72° F / 8 – 22° C (in Toronto)
- Rainfall: 40 mm
- Season: Fall
- Highlights: Fall is a great time to visit some of the bigger cities in Canada, as the crowds would have left, so accommodation would be available at cheaper rates. If you are a fan of films, Toronto International Film Festival, one of the world’s biggest film events, takes place in September. Another unique festival is the Celtic Colors Festival in October. It takes place in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It is a celebration of Celtic culture amidst the beautiful fall colours. What more could you ask for?
November to March — Winter / Low Season
Winters can get rather ruthless, and might not be the best time to visit Canada. However, if you are visiting this country for snow, some winter sports action and a winter wonderland, this is easily the best time. The mountains get a thick blanket of snow, and the temperatures will drop quite low, so make sure you pack enough warm clothes. Except for the ski slopes, other hiking trails and tourist destinations will close down. Tourist spots in bigger cities will remain open, even during the winter, and promise an adventure unlike any other.
- Avg. Temperature: 23 – 46° F / -5 – 8° C (in Toronto)
- Rainfall: 20 – 40 mm
- Season: Winter
- Highlights: If you are an adventurer at heart, head to British Columbia, Alberta, or Quebec for some of the best ski slopes in the world. There are many ski resorts for you to choose from, or you can indulge in skiing, dog sledding, and a number of other activities (there are some kid-friendly resort towns as well!) Winter is when the Northern Lights can be seen in the northern hemisphere, and that makes Canada even more magical. Whitehorse in Yukon and La Ronge in Saskatchewan are the best places to spot the lights from, however, there are many other spots in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta, from where the lights can be seen dancing in the winter sky.