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ca_winter_british columbia_view_snow
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Experience the diversity in every season

When is the best time to visit Canada?

Canada is a beautifully diverse country that distinctly experiences the four seasons. It's perfect to visit year-round, but generally the best time for a trip is between April to June, and September to November. In these periods, the temperatures are great for exploring and it's less busy, making prices more affordable. But it also depends on what you want to do - and where you want to go - when you visit Canada, too.

Discover the seasons of Canada

Surround yourself by pure nature in the summer
Experience a snowy wonderland in the winter
© Tourism Whistler/ Justa Jeskova

"September is a great time to visit British Columbia. This region tends to have late summers and the crowds are gone, so it is also less busy."

Michael, Travel specialist

Spring

The spring months in Canada are beautiful as nature blooms into its full potential. Generally, spring lasts from March until May, but it can also spread into mid-June in some parts of the country. During this time of year, maple syrup seeps from the trees, wildflowers colour the landscape, and melting snow creates cascading waterfalls.

Vancouver

Vancouver is a very popular destination for a spring holiday, as it's generally warmer thanks to its location on the West Coast. Each year, the city bursts to life with pink and white cherry blossoms from over 40,000 trees. In the 1930s, Japan gifted Canada 500 cherry trees to honour the contributions of Japanese Canadians in the first world war. Today, the cherry blossoms are definitely a must-see on your trip. For ocean lovers, spring also attracts whales to the shoreline in Vancouver. It's the perfect destination for a whale-watching tour.

The endless trails are a hiker's paradise in spring
© Northern BC Tourism/Abby Cooper
With 40,000 trees blooming, you can't miss the cherry blossoms of Vancouver
© Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

Toronto and Ottawa

In the centre of the country, Toronto and Ottawa are popular spots to visit for a spring holiday as well. Toronto is home to some of the best parks, gardens and farmer's markets to fill your day with vibrant colour. Ottawa is Canada's capital city. The annual Tulip Festival takes place here in May, claiming to be the biggest in the world. It displays over one million flowers!

If you're a beer lover and avid celebrant of St. Patrick's Day, the smaller city of Kitchener-Waterloo is the perfect destination for you. This city is close to Toronto and boasts one of the biggest St Patrick's Day celebrations. Tens of thousands of people flock to the street to drink green beer and embrace their Irish spirit.

Why travel in spring?

Spring is considered a 'shoulder season', where travel is generally quieter, prices are more affordable, and temperatures are mild. It can be rainy, but most sea-level hiking trails are free of snow throughout British Columbia and Nova Scotia. The average daytime temperature ranges from about 8 to 15 degrees Celsius, rising slowly through the season. Generally, British Columbia is warmer than other provinces during this time of year. In the Okanagan Valley wine region for example, temperatures can already reach 28 degrees in May!

Read more reasons to travel to Western Canada in the spring here.

The tulip festival in Ottawa claims to be the biggest in the world!
Spring coming into full bloom in Toronto
© Jennifer Chen

Summer

From snow-capped mountain peaks to turquoise lakes, the contrasts in Canada are breathtaking during the summer months of June to August. If we're lucky, the warmth can even extend into mid-September. An outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, you’ll be able to camp, road trip, hike, mountain bike, kayak, and do any outdoor activity your heart desires during these months. This is also a great time to visit Canada to spot wildlife from grizzly bears, to caribou, and orcas. Banff and Jasper National Park in particular are known for the many wild animals that live there.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a blast to visit in the summer. You can leisurely stroll along the raging waters, or get up close to the thundering falls on the Maid of the Mist. The main strip of Niagara Falls, called Clifton Hill, has endless attractions to amuse you throughout the day. Of course, if you're a wine lover, Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region is nearby, too.

Hit the open water in a kayak in the summer
© Jaime Reimer
Take the Maid of the Mist to the thundering Niagara Falls
© Rikin Katyal

Canada Day and the Calgary Stampede

Summer also brings with it a lot of celebration. The first of July is Canada Day, where everyone dons red and white clothing, and fireworks light up the night sky. In Calgary, the beginning of July also marks the start of the Calgary Stampede. This is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival - and one of the most popular and famous events in North America. No matter where you are in the country though, there are always summer fairs and festivals. Be sure to look up any happening during your trip!

Toronto and Montreal

Of course, the usual spots such as Toronto and Montreal are also very popular and sunny in the summer. Toronto Island Park and Centreville are full of adventure by the water, and the Montreal gardens flourish with the heat in Quebec. Be sure to check out the Biosphere! There are plenty of opportunities to get outside in nature.

Thinking of travelling in the summer?

Summer is the peak season for travel to Canada. If you travel during this time, be sure to plan in advance to secure the best rates and accommodations. The weather is warm, with an average of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. However, nights and Northern regions in the country can still be cool. For example, temperatures in the Canadian Rockies fluctuate between 13 and 20 degrees in the summer. Don't forget to pack layers on your visit!

Go mountain biking through the peaks
© Nick Rickert
Watch the Canada Day fireworks from the Toronto Islands
© Stephen H

Autumn

As the Canadian maple leaves change to vibrant colours of orange, red and yellow, the autumn months from September to November are a sight to be seen. Eastern Canada, such as the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in particular, are known for the mesmerising crimson shades and fall foliage that colour every tree.

The cities in autumn

The salmon run is one of nature's most fascinating rituals that takes place each year from late October through December in Goldstream River on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. In Quebec, the old cities of Montreal and Quebec City look spectacular with vibrant leaves peaking out amongst the architecture. They are well worth a visit!

Why travel in autumn?

Autumn is also considered a 'shoulder season' in Canada. During this time, you can expect light rain and an occasional dusting of snow in some areas of the country during your travel. The average temperature ranges across the country, but is generally around 8 to 13 degrees Celsius. The national parks are less busy and there are plenty of opportunities to hike. If hiking isn’t for you, enjoy a scenic road trip through the Rocky Mountains. The Icefields Parkway won't disappoint either!

Catch a glimpse of the salmon as they make their annual journey upstream
© Drew Farwell
Jasper is particularly beautiful in autumn
© Dave Lieske @davey_gravy

Winter

The Canadian winter months can seem harsh, but that doesn’t mean you should rule out a visit - especially if you like winter sports, dazzling white landscapes, and maybe even polar bears. Winter generally lasts from December to February, but much to the anguish of Canadians, it can creep into mid-March.

Winter activities

For prominent ski destinations, such as Whistler, Banff and Lake Louise, this time of year is when they come to life. Hit the slopes, learn to snowboard, try tobogganing or snow-tubing, and then warm up in a cosy chalet with a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace to finish your day. There are many family-friendly activities that all will love.

If you're up for a true Canadian adventure, try dog-sledding or take a tour to see polar bears in their natural habitat during your travel. In the north, there are various trackers and opportunities to see the Northern Lights, too.

Conquer the slopes in the winter
© Paul Zizka
Would you try dog sledding?
© Kevin Bessat

Winterlude

To those in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, winter means Winterlude - a winter festival featuring attractions such as the Rideau Canal Skateway, Snowflake Kingdom, and Crystal Garden. It has the best of what winter can offer from ice sculptures and slides, to skating rinks, ice lounges, dance parties and more. Did you know there is even a hotel made entirely of ice outside of Quebec City?

Vancouver

If you're not a fan of the cold, Vancouver and other spots on the West Coast have milder weather during the winter. But don't worry - you can still ski near Vancouver. The altitude of the mountain ranges make sure there is always snow when you're looking for it. In fact, you can ski just about anywhere you go in Canada. Toronto has some great spots too.

Be amazed by the ice sculptures at Winterlude
Would you ice skate on a lake?
© Michael Chupik

As you can see, each season in Canada has something unique no matter where you go. From the big cities of Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal to the special spots only the locals know about, there is something for everyone - and endless adventures to experience! When is the best time to visit Canada for you?

Take advantage of our local knowledge

Feel free to contact one of our travel specialists. They would be more than happy to discuss Canada's climate and seasons in detail, as well as the best time to visit each region based on your specific interests. Or, feel free to attend one of our live and informative presentations for more inspiration on the best time to visit Canada. Your holiday should be tailor-made to fit you!

British Columbia winters are generally more mild than the rest of the country, but you'll still get snow in the mountains!
No matter what time of year, the beauty of the Canadian landscapes cannot be denied!
© Wolfgang Zenz

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You probably already have ideas for your holiday to the United States and Canada. Nature tours through the Rocky Mountains, spotting orcas near the San Juan Islands, or exploring the streets of San Francisco on the iconic cable car?

For the best local tips and advice, visit one of our online presentations. Meet our travel specialists and have all of your questions answered.