Canada is generally associated with cold temperature and extreme snowfalls. But since Canada is a geographically vast country, its climate varies from coast to coast. Other than the North, where it is above freezing for only a few months of the year, most Canadian cities are within 300 km of Canada’s southern border, where mild springs, hot summers, cold winters, and crisp autumns are common.
In the winter, temperatures fall below freezing (0°C/32°F) throughout most of the country. In the summer, temperatures vary between 20°C/68°F and 35 °C/95°F in most of the country.
The hottest temperature recorded in Canada was 45°C/113°F (before humidity) in Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan in 1937.
The coldest temperature recorded in Canada was -67°C/-89°F (before wind chill) in Snag, Yukon in 1947.
The West Coast of Canada has one of the most temperate climates in the country. It rarely snows in the low-lying areas of British Columbia. Summers on the West Coast are dry and hot, while winters are mild and rainy. Vancouver averages 166 days a year with measurable precipitation, and 289 with measurable sunshine. The West Coast receives an average of 1500 mm or 60 inches of rain per year.
In Vancouver, average maximum temperatures are 22°C/72°F for July and 6°C/43°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
Cold winters and humid, hot summers are normal in the Prairies, which extend from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes. Relative to the rest of Canada, the Prairies are dry, receiving between 250 mm to 500 mm of rain per year.
In Calgary, average maximum temperatures are 21°C/70°F for July and -3°C/27°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
In Winnipeg, average maximum temperatures are 26°C/79°F for July and -12°C/10°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
Over half of Canada’s population lives in Central Canada, where winters are snowy and cold, with extreme wind chills. However, summers in Central Canada are hotter, more humid, and longer than elsewhere in the country. Thunderstorms are common, especially in the humid summer months. Central Canada averages between 600 and 1000 mm (24 to 39 inches) of rain annually.
In Toronto, average maximum temperatures are 27°C/81°F for July and -2°C/28°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
In Montreal, average maximum temperatures are 26°C/79°F for July and -5°C/23°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
Canada’s East Coast has one of the most variable climates in Canada. In the winter snowfall is relatively heavy, and fog is common in Spring, Autumn, and Summer. August and September are the warmest months, and January and February are the coldest. The East Coast also experiences a lot of rain, with 1500 mm or 60 inches of rain annually.
In Halifax, average maximum temperatures are 22°C/72°F for July and 6°C/43°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
In St. John’s, average maximum temperatures are 20°C/68°F for July and 0°C/32°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
Northern Canada is snow covered most of the year, and summer lasts approximately two months. In the Arctic, the ground remains permanently frozen. Inhabited regions of northern Canada receive 100-200 cm (40-80 inches) of snowfall annually.
In Whitehorse, average maximum temperatures are 20°C/68°F for July and -13°C/9°F for January, before wind chill and humidity.
By Jess Gerrow, who traded city life in Canada for island life in the Mediterranean two years ago. She is a postgraduate marketing student, blogger, and freelance writer.
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