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What is the Canada Climate like? What about the weather in Canada?

Canada is a huge country, stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. Canada’s climate depends on the many different climatic zones.

Canada Climate and Weather
Spectaculair sunsets

You are wondering what the Canadian climate is like? Before you decide on a trip you ask yourself: “What is the weather like there? Canada’s climate and weather vary, depending on where you are; there is no single ‘Canada climate’. The Canadian weather pattern includes some extremes.

Canada’s Four Seasons

Canada has four seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall. However, the intensity of the seasons differs across the country. The four seasons are distinct in Canada’s most populated regions in the South along the U.S. border. Summer day temperatures can rise up to 35 °C and higher, while winter temperatures as low as -25°C are not uncommon in parts of the country.

  • January is the coldest month across Canada.
  • Spring officially arrives on March 21, but that doesn’t mean that there is no more snowfall in some regions.
  • The official start of summer is June 21 with climbing temperatures through July and August. In the dry interior, the high temperatures are more bearable than in the coastal regions where there is high humidity.
  • Autumn officially starts September 21. Especially the nights can get quite chilly already and even here in the Okanagan we can expect the first frost. Still, mild weather can continue until early December. The first snowfall can start to fall anytime.

Be Prepared

The west coast of Canada has a moderate climate year-round. The Okanagan Valley where I live is known to have one of the milder climates in the country. Now you all know why I settled here!

Hiking in the snow
Searching for trails in winter

Winters out west are usually not as cold as in other parts. Summers in the Okanagan are hot and dry with low humidity, with cool comfortable evenings, and we don’t get much rainfall. Not so in Vancouver and along the coast, that’s where they get all the rain.

Thunderstorms are common throughout Canada during summer and sometimes they are severe. Tornadoes occur throughout Canada mostly between May and September.

Forest fires are frequent in western Canada during the hot summer month and some years extreme with the evacuation of whole towns.

A large area in the north is virtually uninhabited and has an arctic climate, which is extremely harsh with the ground permanently frozen.

If your Western Canada trip will take you to northern areas, such as Yukon and Northwest Territories, or Nunavut, you have to be prepared for the Canadian climate. Bring warm clothing for the summer months as well.

I remember one of the horse pack trips a few years ago in the middle of July up in Northern British Columbia. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite prepared for the climate and spent one of my coldest nights ever, tucked into my old New Zealand sleeping bag. Was I ever cold!

The second night, as well as the rest of the trip I put on all my clothes I had with me for the night. I was wearing my four-season riding jacket, pulled my woollen hat over my ears and was wearing my gloves. This improved my sleeping comfort a bit. When I got home from the trip, I invested in the best sleeping bag I could afford. I have never been cold again on any camping trip since then.

Canada is a great place to shop for camping gear. Leave your old sleeping bag at home and invest in a four-season sleeping bag from MEC Mountain Equipment Company or Valhalla Pure Outfitters, one that will last you forever.

Best Time To Visit Canada

Canada Climate - snow
Early summer hike in the Monashee, British Columbia

If you want to experience the great outdoors without the snow, travelling in Canada between May and September is the best choice. Still, many high-altitude trails might be closed well into July.

The best weather you usually get is in July and August, that’s also when the prices are the highest and most Canadians and foreign tourists are on the road. September is my favourite month for hiking, especially the first part of September when the weather is usually perfect with warm days and cool nights.

Environment Canada’s website offers current weather information.

Find the best Canadian Adventures

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