The Weather in Canada: What to Expect

By Melanie Ferreira

Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, and it’s also one of the most diverse. The temperatures can vary drastically depending on where you are in Canada. This blog post will talk about temperatures to be expected as well as the different seasons for each province. We’ll go through every province from east to west so that you’ll know what to expect no matter where you live!

This article will provide background on each province, average temperatures year-round and explain what to expect when visiting or considering a move to Canada.

 

Interesting facts to consider about the weather in Canada:

 

  1. The Canadian climate varies depending on the region
  2. Canada is a winter country, but because of its northern location, it experiences longer and colder winters than most countries in the world
  3. Some regions – such as southern British Columbia and parts of Quebec – experience more rain than snow during the winter months
  4. Toronto has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons
  5. Vancouver’s climate is considered to be one of the mildest in Canada because it lies at sea level
  6. Calgary has a dry, high-altitude prairie climate that can get very hot and cold

Let’s have a look at each province, average weather and what you can expect

Quebec

The temperatures in Quebec generally have the following pattern:

– hot and humid summers with temperatures up to 30°C

– short, cool springs and mild autumns; temperatures can reach -30 °C during cold snaps, but typically range from 0° C to -20 °C

– cold and dry winter, temperatures range from -25° C  to 0° C

The average temperature in the summer is around 20 degrees Celsius. The climate of Quebec can be very humid during this time as well.

The temperatures in Quebec are so extreme because the province is located on a series of large lakes and shares many physical similarities with Ontario. The winter temperatures can drop to as low as -40° C. This is not an uncommon occurrence for those living in this region during these months. In comparison, temperatures in Ontario have been known to drop as low as -50° C.

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Ontario

The temperatures in Ontario vary from day to night and season to season. On average, temperatures range between -12° C during winter months and 23 degrees Celsius during summer months. The temperature pattern for the rest of Canada is similar but might be a few degrees lower or higher depending on which province you’re in.

Ontario’s temperatures may also vary depending on where you are within the province itself; temperatures will be a bit lower at higher elevations and decrease as your elevation descends closer to Lake Ontario. For example, at Georgian Bay region temperatures can range from -18° C during winter months to 18 degrees Celsius during summer months.

Manitoba

Manitoba has an annual mean temperature of 12°C, although temperatures range from -37.0°C in the winter to 29.0°C in the summer months (for more info regarding average temperatures visit Environment Canada). The province experiences two main seasons: a short cool season and long warm season. Temperatures are cooler during November through March with some snowfall. The temperatures rise during April through October.

The warm season lasts from mid-April to early November, and temperatures range between 12°C in the morning up to 27°C or higher in the afternoon. During this time period there are usually at least six hours of sunlight each day with some rain showers expected on occasion.

 

What is the coldest Canadian city in the winter? Winnipeg!

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is typically cold and dry, with temperatures averaging around -30°C in the winter. The summer temperatures are slightly higher than other Canadian provinces, hovering around 20°C on average. Due to Saskatchewan’s location at a high latitude, its seasons are usually classified as very short-daylight hours during the winter months (November to January) and long-daylight hours during the warmer summer months (June to August).

There are two dry seasons in Saskatchewan: the “late fall, early winter” and “mid-spring.” The temperatures during these periods range from around -8°C Fahrenheit to -18°C. These temperatures can be a bit misleading though, as they do not factor in windchill which is usually significantly colder than temperatures recorded by thermometers.

Saskatchewan gets an average of about 12 inches of snow per year. Snow is usually present from October to April, but temperatures can fluctuate throughout the season and cause varied amounts of precipitation depending on temperatures in each region at different times during the winter months. The lowest temperatures are typically recorded around January when it has been reported as low as -40°C. 

Alberta

Alberta has a temperate continental climate with temperatures that usually range from about 20°C in the summer to -30°C in winter.

The province experiences four seasons, but they are not as pronounced and there is less extreme temperatures between them than areas south of Alberta such as central Canada or the United States have.

In addition, because temperatures are lower throughout the year, there is little difference in temperatures from one season to another.

Alberta’s climate can be described as dry and sunny with low humidity; temperatures vary more than they do in other parts of Canada (particularly during summer) but extremes between seasons are less pronounced than elsewhere in Canada.

British Columbia

In British Columbia temperatures are generally moderate and vary only slightly with different seasons. In winter, temperatures can drop to the low single digits on occasion but temperatures in summer hover around the high teens Celsius. The average annual temperature is about five degrees below that of central Canada (20°C).

The coastal climate results from a perfect storm of factors, such as the moderate temperatures and ample rainfall of the Pacific Ocean. The mountain ranges to the east shield inland areas from winter storms that originate in Siberia, so temperatures are milder here than they would otherwise be (14°C).

In December temperatures are about two degrees higher along coastal regions (11°C) while temperatures on the eastern slopes of the mountains are about three degrees warmer (14°C).

British Columbia is the wettest province in Canada, with most rain falling during  winter and spring. The coastal temperatures moderate temperatures to result in a shorter snow season than central provinces such as Quebec or Ontario while at higher elevations near the Rocky Mountains winter temperatures are lower but there’s more snow pack. For this reason, skiing is popular in the province.

North Western Territories

Canada’s North West Territories has temperatures year round, ranging from lows around -30°C to highs of +26 °C.

Temperatures in the summer often reach between 23-27°C. In winter temperatures can drop below -40°C! Winter usually lasts from November to April.

The North West Territories also have a very dry climate, with temperatures below the freezing point for much of the winter and spring months.

Snowfall is common in the winter season between November and March averaging around 190 cm (75 inches). Snow cover can reach up to one metre (39 inches) deep!

You will be ok – no matter where you live!

The weather in Canada is generally cold and snowy in the winter, which might be a turn-off for people who are considering immigrating to the country. However, there’s more to consider than just what it feels like outside when you visit. Remember that as cold as Canada might get, the summer months are magical, hot and better than you can even begin to imagine. If you do decide that Canada is where your future lies, make sure you research all of the facts about living conditions before packing up your bags and heading out on an adventure!

Reach out if you want some help with researching Canadian cities or need advice about what things to pack for life abroad. We can provide reliable information from locals so that immigration doesn’t feel like such an overwhelming process!

Watch the video below from Andrea, where she shares her winter experience! 🙂 

Did these points raise even more questions? Let’s help you get more answers – reach out to us to chat!
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