When is the best time to visit Canada?
Canada is all about glorious summers and fairytale winters, sparkling lakes and majestic mountains, charming cities, and incredible outdoor adventures. Find the best times to visit Canada so you can experience this stunning country to its fullest.
The summer months, typically from late June – early September, offer some of the best weather conditions to travel to Canada. The spring months from April to June are also a wonderful time to witness the change in seasons as the trees start to bud and flowers start to bloom (especially on the West Coast where spring can arrive much earlier than other parts of Canada). Fall, which runs from September to October, is also a picture-perfect time of year.
Temperatures across most parts of the country are below freezing. Snow is a regular feature during this month, bringing out plenty of winter festivals. The ski season is also in full swing.
- Travel to Whistler Blackcomb, Canada’s winter playground on the West Coast, for top level skiing and many more outdoor activities and fun
- Art aficionados, head to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto
It’s the coldest month of the year, but that doesn’t stop locals from heading out to ski resorts and participating in carnivals and winter activities. Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary host some of the best Chinese New Year celebrations
- Witness surreal snow-covered landscapes as you take a sleigh ride in Banff National Park
- Night parades, snow sculptures and more are part of the Quebec Winter Festival
Temperatures inch upwards, and by the end of the month are above freezing. Vancouver sees daytime highs touch the 50°F mark while Toronto is just about hitting 40°F. A week-long school break sees families heading to the ski resorts.
- For some of the best maple syrup tastings and festivals, head to Quebec
- Walk amongst giant trees at the Cathedral Grove in Vancouver Island
With temperatures in Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City in the low to mid-50s, some may refer to this as ‘shoulder’ season. It can be a quiet time of year, although Easter, if it falls in April, sees a peak in visitors.
- Vancouver takes on a pink hue as the city celebrates the Cherry Blossom festival
- Experience a riot of colors at the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island
Temperatures rise to the 60s and springtime blooms across the country making it a lovely time to visit. It’s not yet peak season so expect fewer crowds and line ups at all the major cities and attractions.
- Welcome spring at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver
- Ride the Jasper Sky Tram and walk over the Glacier Skywalk to witness the beauty of Jasper National Park
- For sweeping views of Montreal, climb to the top of Mount Royal
With rising temperatures and the summer crowds yet to arrive, June is one of the best times to visit Canada. Hiking trails, golf courses, and many other outdoor activities are in full swing, so it’s a great time to explore the country.
- Take a water taxi and enjoy one of the many hip restaurants and galleries on Granville Island in Vancouver
- Spend time discovering the charming neighborhood of old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Summer is in full swing! Toronto, Quebec City, and Montreal see temperatures hitting the 80-degree and much higher (with the humidity). On the West Coast, Vancouver tends to receive more pleasant temperatures in the mid-70s with very little humidity.
- Walk along the shores of Lake Moraine in Banff for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers
- For the best views of Toronto, head to the observation deck at the CN Tower
- Take the Skyride up Grouse in North Vancouver
Summer crowds continue to throng the cities and national parks across the country, enjoying the stunning scenery, cool patios, and exciting attractions. Many festivals are going on so be sure to check them out.
- Take a boat cruise over the crystal clear waters of the Maligne Lake in Jasper
- Wander the cobblestone alleys of old Montreal
- Head out on a whale-watching excursion in Victoria on Vancouver Island, to see some of the resident killer whale pods
Temperatures start to cool down a bit, which brings out the vibrant fall colors so it’s another wonderful time to visit. After Labour Day, kids are back to school, so crowds are less which makes this an excellent time to visit Canada.
- It’s salmon spawning season in British Columbia
- Walk or cycle along the Seawall at Stanley Park in Vancouver
- Take a boat tour around the Toronto Harbour and Islands for a picturesque view of the city
The best fall foliage shows up during this month. Daytime temperatures begin to drop into the 50s and lower but with the crisp air comes clear skies.
- Marvel at star-studded skies at the Dark Sky Festival in Jasper
- Take the train from Toronto to Montreal to view the beautiful array of colors through the countryside
- Enjoy a trail ride in Vancouver
Days get shorter, nights longer, and temperatures continue to drop. Dress for all seasons and head out to enjoy what Mother Nature brings.
- Take a gondola ride up the Sulphur Mountain in Banff for incredible views of the majestic Rocky Mountains
- The indoor St.Lawrence Market in Toronto is the perfect place for a gastronomic tour
Across the country, mercury levels are hovering around or below the freezing mark, changing everything into a winter wonderland. Skiers abound, Christmas festivities in full swing, and it is the perfect setting for a winter getaway.
- Revel in the festive spirit at Quebec’s Christmas markets
- Visit the impressive Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
- Ski the slopes of Mont Tremblant in Quebec or snowshoe one of the local mountains in Vancouver
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Best time to visit Canada by season
The most popular time to visit Canada is during the summer months from June to August. Cities in Eastern Canada, such as Toronto and Montreal, experience summers that are hot and humid. In contrast, Victoria or Vancouver, on the West coast, see more moderate temperatures and little humidity. As soon as the sun begins to shine, everyone heads outdoors.
The autumn months of September and October see leaves changing colors, particularly in the Eastern part of the country. Temperatures drop into the mid-50s to mid-60s, and you may encounter some rain.
Winter sets in by November and can extend all the way up to March or even early April. Temperatures dip below freezing across the country with most parts blanketed in white snow. Some areas can experience more extreme cold with temperature falling well below freezing and gusts of cold winds. The only exception to this are the coastal cities of British Columbia where winters are generally mild with very little snow and much more rain in the cities. It’s a great time to visit Canada if you are up for some winter sports and fun.
While the West coast experiences spring-like weather as early as February, many other parts see temperatures only begin to warm by April. It’s an unpredictable time of year with some rainfall, cold evenings, and chilly winds, so best to dress for the weather to enjoy the experience
What to pack for a trip to Canada?
Canada experiences four distinct seasons, so what you pack for your trip to Canada depends on when you are visiting the country.
Summers on the east coast can get hot and humid, so it’s best to pack airy, breathable clothing. Shorts, breezy tops and casual dresses work well for summer. There are plenty of outdoor activities to participate in during these months. If you are planning on hiking, pack a good pair of walking/trekking shoes. It’s the perfect time for swimming in the country’s many lakes, so do pack a swimsuit.
Spring and fall seasons can be quite unpredictable, so pack light layers that you can add or remove depending on weather conditions. A windcheater or a light jacket is also recommended as nights can get quite chilly.
Winters in Canada call for your warmest jackets and protective winter gear, including gloves, winter hats (toques as referred to by Canadians), thermals, and woolen socks. No matter when you are visiting Canada, it’s best to pack protective rain gear – a raincoat or an umbrella, to keep you dry from a sudden shower.
Speak to our travel experts to discover what would be the best time to visit Canada for you. With our tailor-made itineraries you can be sure you will truly experience the best of what this spectacular country has to offer.
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