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The climate of Canada
Canada is the second largest country in the world. With a surface area of almost 10 million square kilometers it is larger than China, the United States and Brazil. With a surface area of almost 17 million square kilometers Russia is the largest country in the world. Despite its vast size Canada has only few different climate zones. This is caused by Canada’s situation far from the equator and a limited number of factors that influence the climate. The Rocky Mountains in the western part of the country are an important factor because depressions cannot reach the interior. This also means cold polar air has a clear passage to reach the interior. During the winter temperatures may drop as low as -30 or -40 degrees Celsius. Sometimes it may even get colder which causes villages to be completely isolated from the outer world. The currents in the oceans also have a great influence on the climate of Canada. In the east the Kuro-Shio-Drift supplies relatively warm water which causes the climate on the west coast to be much warmer and much more pleasant than on the east coast. In the east the Labrador Current supplies relatively cold sea water; this causes the weather in British Columbia to be much milder. During the summer the heat is tempered by the sea water. During the winter the sea water and the mountains cause the climate of the south western part of Canada to be mild. During the winter temperatures will be above freezing point most of the time. This causes this part of Canada to be much warmer than other parts of Canada where it may get (really) cold.


Climate information of places and areas in Canada
The climate information on this page is only brief. Specific information about weather and climate can be found on the climate pages per area or town. As for Canada the following climate information is available:

Norman Wells
Old Crow
Prince George
Prince Rupert
Saint John's
Saint John's New Brunswick
Thunder Bay
British Columbia
New Brunswick
Niagara Falls
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island
Rocky Mountains
Yukon Territory

Climate zones
According to the Köppen climate classification the largest part of Canada has a land climate; varying from a moderate land climate in some southern parts of the country which passes into a cool land climate or sub arctic climate (type Dfc). The north and north east have a tundra climate (type ET). Winters here are very cold; summers are cool and dry. The Rocky Mountains in the west have a high mountain climate with large areas of perennial snow. Temperatures here hardly rise above freezing point, even during the summer. Some lower parts in the Rocky Mountains have a cool continental climate (type Dsc). Along the west coast there is a moderate maritime climate (type Cfb) with mild winters, warm summers and reasonable amounts of precipitation. Most of the precipitation falls during winter. However, there is no real dry season here.

Canada has (very) cold winters except for the west coast where the warm sea water causes temperatures to be higher. The cold polar air from the interior cannot reach the western coastal areas because of the Rocky Mountains. The western part of Canada sees more settled weather in winter than other regions. However, there is a reasonable chance of precipitation because of the supply of (large) depressions from the sea. Because of the Rocky Mountains the rain remains stationary in this area causing high precipitation figures in some places. In the west the winter is the wettest period of the year with an annual precipitation figure of 1,000 millimeters on average. Precipitation falls in the form of rain, snow, glazed frost and hail from October till March. In central Canada winters are cold without exception. The only question is how cold it will get. This is determined by the supply of very cold polar air from the north. In central Canada temperatures of -20, -30 or even -40 are not uncommon from November till March. The southern part of Canada usually has less cold winters. However, a strong current with cold air may travel south causing subzero temperatures even in the United States of America. During the winter the south-eastern part of Canada has the most unpredictable weather. During the day temperatures may be above freezing point, but when you travel further into the interior towards major cities such as Quebec and Toronto it may get really cold. During the winter periods of depressions with low temperatures are being alternated with depressions with reasonable amounts of snow and short periods of thaw.

Warm summer months
Most places in Canada have warm summers. Cities such as Vancouver and Victoria have daytime temperatures of 20-25 degrees Celsius and night time temperatures of 10-15 degrees Celsius. Summers are relatively dry with 40-60 millimeters of rain per month. Temperatures may rise as high as 30 degrees Celsius in this area. However, temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius are uncommon. Even in places such as Dawson, located in Yukon close to the border with Alaska maximum temperatures of 20-25 degrees Celsius are not uncommon in July which is the warmest month. At the end of August subzero temperatures during the night may occur. A month later subzero temperatures during the day are not uncommon. It may get quite warm in the southern part of Canada. Because the sea has no influence here temperatures may rise to 22-30 degrees Celsius on average. Sometimes peaks of 40 degrees Celsius can be recorded in Ontario. Where temperatures are concerned the eastern part of Canada (Nova Scotia and Newfoundland) are reasonably warm. However, this area is quite wet because of depressions that come from the north eastern tip of the United States. During the summer about 100 millimeters of rain can be expected per month. This makes this area not really suitable as a beach destination. During the summer the northern part of Canada, especially the regions above the Arctic Circle are cold. The north eastern tip (Ellesmere and Devon) are covered with permafrost. About 40-60 days per year get no frost. During the warmest days in the coldest area of Canada temperatures of 10-12 degrees Celsius can be recorded.

Where precipitation figures are concerned there are very large differences within Canada. The northern part (around and above the Arctic Circle) is very dry with about 100-200 millimeters of precipitation per year, almost all of it in the form of snow. The interior between the Rocky Mountains and the Hudson Bay in the west are also dry with 250-500 millimeters of annual precipitation. The south east in the state of British Columbia is slightly wetter. Along the east coast and the western side of the Coast Mountains it is much wetter with about 700-2,000 millimeters of annual precipitation. The west coast is the wettest place in Canada with more than 2,000 millimeters of rain per year, a large part of which falls in the form of rain. Unlike tropical areas where rain is mostly short lived longer periods of rain are not uncommon here. Although summers are not really dry winters (October till March) are the wettest here.

The north-eastern parts of Canada regularly get storms caused by depressions from the east coast of America. Even hurricanes may occur here. During storms it may get quite spooky along the east coast, especially when large amounts of rain fall. A different type of wind is a snowstorm. These so-called blizzards occur regularly in the eastern part of Canada.


Climate figures
The figures below are based on long term weather and climate records. They are an average for the most densely populated area of Canada: the south of Ontario and Quebec. The figures are an average for the region north of the border with the United States where the capital Ottawa and the two largest cities (Toronto and Quebec) are situated. The water temperatures are an average for Lake Ontario. Because major differences may occur please go to the individual pages for climate information on other places and regions in Canada.

temperature (°C)


temperature (°C)
hours of sunshine

average days with precipitation
per month
per month
temperature (°C)
January -5 -14 3 13 3
February -4 -13 4 11 2
March 3 -6 5 11 2
April 11 1 6 11 3
May 18 8 7 12 7
June 24 13 8 12 13
July 27 16 9 11 19
August 25 15 8 12 21
September 20 10 6 11 19
October 13 5 4 12 14
November 6 -1 3 14 9
December -1 -9 3 15 5
= 0-5 mm ● = 6-30 mm ● = 31-60 mm ● = 61-100 mm ● = 101-200 mm ● = over 200 mm
= 0-0.2 inches ● = 0.2-1.2 inches ● = 1.2-2.4 inches ● = 2.5-4 inches ● = 4.1-8 inches ● = over 8 inches

More climate information
Climate tables are useful but they don’t give an overall picture of the climate and possible weather conditions during a period of time. How high the chances are of hot or cold weather or hurricanes can often not be found in these tables. This is why we offer extra climate information per month. The information below is an average for the south of Ontario and Quebec. Large cities such as Quebec, Toronto and Ottawa are situated here. Other cities and regions have different figures. The north east gets less sunshine; the westerly coastal areas are much wetter and the north has wintry weather almost all year round.
Please visit the individual pages for climate information on other places and regions in Canada.

chance of
(very) hot


chance of
(very) cool
chance of

chance of
chance of
sunny days


click here for the explanation of the symbols


The information at this site was carefully composed from climate data collected by meteorological services, meteorological offices, climate experts and other sources. “More climate info” is based on statistics, climate data and personal experience. No rights can be derived from this site. Weather has no memory and gives no guaranties. Nothing is as changeable and unpredictable as the weather. The authors of this site feel in no way responsible for any damages caused by misinterpretation or other circumstances that may influence your holiday or trip to a certain destination. We provide information, it’s up to the reader to use it to it’s benefit.


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