Climate & Weather in Canada

Climate & Weather in Canada

When Canada springs to mind, many people think of this North American country being quite cold. The average summer and winter temperatures vary across Canada, according to the location. Although it is known as the Great White North, this only applies mostly during the winter. During the short summer, it could somewhat be called the great humidity zone.

A large part of Canada does lie within the Arctic Circle. However, there also a small strip of temperate climate that is near the southern border of Canada. Except for the Hudson Bay which is actually frozen over for 9 months per year, Canada's northern coast along the Arctic Ocean is either permanently ice-bound or obstructed almost all year round due to ice floes. Regardless of whether it is winter or summer, this area makes for a great wilderness eco-friendly tourism option all year round.

It is only British Columbia, New Foundland, and The Maritimes (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia) that does not freeze regularly in the wintertime. The Pacific Ocean's air is warmer, and this influences British Columbia. Several inland valleys and the coast resemble north-west Europe and the UK as the winters can be mild, they have warm summers, and rain falling throughout the year.

In southern Canada, there are frequent cyclonic depressions. These cross the St Lawrence valley and the Great Lakes before heading out to the Atlantic Ocean. Strangely enough, during the winter, the Canadian provinces that are on the border of the Atlantic Ocean are actually warmer than the interior. Summer temperatures are lower compared to the interior as the cold current flows from the south towards the coast.

The south is marked by high humidity levels during the summer. Temperatures can rise above 30ºC on a regular basis. The south-west is known for having a mild climate.

Interior Canada has a continental climate. This is also similar to the Prairies (Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan). Summer is hot, but their winter is very long and cold as it runs for about half a year. The temperature is generally around -15ºC but it can drop to -40ºC combined with wind chills. It is fairly dry in the Prairies as well, with only 250 mm – 500 mm of rain per year.

In the barren northlands, summers are warm and close to the Siberian climate.

There are some natural phenomenons that any tourist should take note of. Thunderstorms during the summer often occur in Canada and sometimes these can become severe. There are also tornadoes particularly during May – September. The peak season for southern Ontario, south-eastern Quebec, Alberta, and some parts from Manitoba, Thunder Bay, and southern Saskatchewan occurs during June to early July. Other tornado zones include west New Brunswick and British Columbia's interior. Regardless of what the season is, forest fires can actually happen at any time. This is particularly prevalent in western Canada's forests and grasslands. Other than this, earth tremors can also be felt in Canada's western mountains.

Overall, the best time to visit this wonderful country is during September – October. This is because autumn provides not only relatively good weather overall, but also the famous autumn leaves provide a great photo opportunity for both amateur and professional photographers as well as providing a romantic ambience. However, summer is the best time to visit which is why most people visit Canada during the summer time. The worst time to visit would be winter, unless you are in Canada to enjoy the snow.