Canada, the second-largest country in the world, offers an array of travel options from cultural experiences in Vancouver and Quebec, to immersing yourself in the natural scenery of British Colombia, to watching the northern lights and even paddle boarding with whales – but with all these options comes the burden of having to figure out the best time to visit Canada.
With its massive size, rich offering for tourists, varied geography and climate, it is natural to find yourself met with an overwhelming number of activity choices and not knowing when the best time to travel there is.
As a rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong with the summer months in Canada where the weather won’t make you uncomfortable, most of the attractions are working, and festivals are happening in every city, however, that does not mean that visiting Canada in other months won’t be an incredible experience.
To make your planning a little easier, and since each season has its own highlights, we have created a mini-guide for you to help you choose the best time to visit Canada based on its different seasons.
December To February In Canada (Winter)
The months December, January and February are without a doubt the coldest in Canada, and they’re chilly, damp and sometimes even harsh. The country receives heavy snow, rain and low temperatures but that doesn’t deter Canadians away from having fun!
Despite the cold, chilly weather, you can enjoy an array of winter activities and immerse yourself into the festive ambience that comes with Christmas and New Year’s.
The winter months are the best time to visit Canada only if you’re interested in the outdoor winter activities and the winter festivals it has to offer. It’s the perfect time for adventurous people where you can enjoy the incredible outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding and skating.
Here are some of the top things you could do in Winter:
Winterlicious is a culinary celebration that takes place in Toronto for two weeks in January. It’s the perfect chance for you to experience different types of cuisine at prix-fixe value at over 200 restaurants all over Toronto.
There is also a wide range of experiences like dinner theatre, samplings, tastings and cooking classes!
Winterlude is an annual winter festival that takes place in Ottawa, and attracts over 1.5 million visitors a year who celebrate winter for three weeks in February. The festival has all types of events and activities that cater to the needs of all types of people and travelers
You can skate on the world’s largest ice rink by the Rideau Canal, join the Bed Race, eat in one of the 55 restaurants, join musical concerts and sculpture competitions, take skiing courses, or visit the Snowflake Kingdom for kids!
Winter Festival of Light, Niagara Falls
The Winter Festival of Light turns the Niagara Falls into an enchanting winter wonderland straight out of a fairytale.
With over 125 animated lighting displays, and illuminated trees, the Niagara Falls turn into a spectacular display of light. There are also a number of concerts, performances, and events that take place during the festival to add to the things you can do!
Visiting Jasper in January
You can also visit the Jasper National Park in January for its 2-week festival which hosts music, events, and a lot of winter activities.
Carnival de Quebec
Quebec’s Winter Carnival is the largest winter festival in the world and it lasts for 2 weeks. Thousands of tourists flock to Quebec to enjoy the festival, take part in activities like snow slides and building ice sculptures, enjoy the shows, attend concerts, wildlife exhibits, go on pub crawls, and enjoy the Magical Night Parades, and help in building sculptures.
Visit the Canadian Rocky Mountains
You can visit the Canadian Rocky mountains to see the snow-covered mountains, get the chance to ski, snowshoe, ice skate go on sleigh rides or spend time on the ski hills.
The best time to visit Whistler is during the winter because of the winter sports conditions you will experiences, where even non-skiers can enjoy activities like tubing and snowmobiling. Keep an eye on the Whistler Film Festival, the Winter Pride Festival and the Fire and Ice Show.
Watch the Northern Lights
Visit Yukon or Churchill to watch the Northern Lights.
March – May (Spring)
The spring season in Canada prides itself on its spell-bounding colors, beautiful sights, its different shades of orange, yellow and green, and the magic of watching the frosty snow slowly turn into the vibrant colors of spring.
Spring is the best time to visit Canada only if you want to enjoy lower airfares and hotel prices (except during March Break).
In Spring you can still visit the ski resorts, the Niagara Falls and the main attractions in Canada’s main cities without having to deal with extremely harsh weather.
Things to do in Spring
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festivals allows you to experience Japanese culture and scenery when the whole city of Vancouver turns into a display of millions of pink blooms and illuminated tree branches making the ambiance of the city incredibly magical.
It’s a two event and you can enjoy a grand lunch, or one of the many events that take place in the park.
Ottawa Tulip Festival
This is the largest tulip festival in the world, and it’s based in Ottawa, boasting different species of tulips all over, specifically in the Commissioners Park.
Maple Syrup Festival
The Maple Syrup festival takes place in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick and in March and April you can celebrate the festival by learning how to produce maple syrup.
You can still ski until April in Canada.
June To August (Summer)
This is definitely the best time to visit to Canada without a doubt. Millions of tourists flock to Canada every year in the summer thanks to its breathtaking landscapes, its gorgeous scenery, the hundreds of festivals that take place in every city, and the countless sightseeing opportunities and awaiting adventures.
Canada experiences hot and humid summers, with the west coast summer being more moderate and the northern ones being cooler as well.
This is the time you can explore almost all regions comfortably. However, since summer is the peak travel time, you’ll find that most hotels and airfare rates rocket up, but it’s definitely worth it.
You can choose whether you want to spoil your adventurous soul with outdoor activities or get more cultural and visit the main cities to sight-see.
Top Things To Do
Celebration of Light
The Celebration of Light is a 3-night festival that takes place in Vancouver that boasts incredible firework shows.
Dubbed “one of the greatest outdoor shows on Earth”, this festival is one of the best in America and in the world, reflecting the western culture and offering an array of activities and sights.
Think cowboys, a rodeo, non-stop country music, amazing food and countless parades, competitions, events. The festival takes place in Calgary for 10 days every year and attracts over 1.2 million people (including the royal couple!)
Go down to the Churchill River to canoe or kayak and enjoy the gorgeous backdrop of the rocky mountains
Attend the Toronto Film Festival
The Toronto Film Festival takes place through out July and August where Toronto turns into a place full of glitz and glam, and you can experience the premiere of new pictures and movies and the award session. Make sure you purchase the tickets in advance.
Bird watching and swimming with beluga whales
You can head to Churchill in the months from May to August.
From May to June is the optimum time for bird watching, where you can watch over 250 species of arctic birds and ducks.
Want to paddle board, swim or jump in a kayak with some beluga whales? Then visit Churchill in July and August!
Just For Laughs Festival, Montreal
This is an annual festival that takes place in Montreal which has gala events, stand-up performances, and all celebrations of humor in every way possible, including one-man shows, musicals and much more.
A huge festival that takes place in the first week of August where the Caribbean culture is celebrated through parades, masquerade bands, extravagant costumes, and amazing food.
International Jazz Festival
Named the largest jazz festival in the world in 2004, this is when the city turns into one of the biggest celebrations of the summer with big names like Tony Bennet joining. There are over a 1000 concerts, 3000 artists and over 2.5 million visitors every year.
Visiting the Niagara Falls is on everyone’s bucket-list, and it is overall a magical experience for all types of travelers – the backpackers, the families, the tourists, the couples and solo travelers.
They flow majestically and resemble a beautiful painting waiting to be discovered, and for that, you have to be careful when planning on visiting them.
Without question, the best time to visit the Niagara Falls is in summer. The setting is extraordinary with mists and breezes from the waterfall, the shining sun and the backdrop of the landscape all together. Visiting in the summer will allow you to take full advantage of the experience.
October – November
You can also go to Canada in the fall, where a lot of the theme parks and outdoor tourist attractions are still up and running and it’s the perfect time to experience the fall foliage.
The temperatures dip a little bit lower but it’s not as cold as winter, so you can still walk around, and there are plenty of activities you can plan – whether outdoor or indoor.
Things to do
Okanagan Fall Wine Festival
You can celebrate the wine festival with over 165 events taking place around the valley during grape harvest.
Celtic Colors International Festival
Celebrate the culture of Cape Breton by attending festivals, concerts, workshops and discover the beauty of the islands during October.
A Country Worth Visiting
As you can tell, Canada is an incredibly diverse country, and you must have an idea of how you want your trip to go before visiting to get the full outcome of your trip. Whether it be whale-watching, walking down 18th century streets, visiting cosmopolitan cities, hiking or skiing, Canada has it all, it all depends on what you want.
However, the absolute best time to visit Canada when it comes to the number of experiences you can have and the best weather is definitely in the summer months from June to August when the whole country comes to life.
Please comment if you have any questions and we’d be more than happy to help you figure out the best time to visit Canada!