Life in Canada

Canada’s Four Seasons in 5 Regions – What You’ll Need



In Canada are the 4 distinct seasons throughout the year: spring, summer, fall and winter:

Spring (March, April, May)

The snow begins to melt and the weather starts to get warmer – ranging from 0°C to 10°C. The days are warmer, but the nights stay cool and the days feel longer – increasing from 5 to 7 hours of sunlight per day through the season. It typically rains quite a bit, which combined with longer days means plants and grass begin to grow and flowers start to bloom. Trees grow leaves in April or May.

What you’ll need:

  • Warm coat
  • Hat, light gloves and boots
  • Umbrella and/or rain coat

Summer (June, July, August)

Temperatures range from 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) and hotter in the peak of July. It can get quite humid – particularly near bodies of water – making it feel even hotter than the thermometer says. Canadian meteorologists will report the humidity index (or ‘humidex‘), which combines the temperature and humidity to describe how hot the weather feels to the average person. The days are long averaging 8 to 9 hours of sunlight per day.

If you’ll be spending time outside, particularly near water, forests and fields, you’ll likely run into mosquitoes (June to Aug), ticks and deer and horse flies (July and Aug).

What you’ll need:

  • Lightweight clothing such as t-shirt and shorts
  • Insect repellant to prevent bites and Lyme disease
  • Sunscreen and a sun hat to prevent sunburn
  • Water bottle to help stay hydrated

Fall (September, October, November)

The leaves of deciduous trees change colours from green to an array of yellows, oranges and reds. Temperatures hit a wide range and can vary considerably from one day to the next. You might need a coat and gloves first thing in the morning (5°C/41°F), but only a sweater or light jacket in the middle of the day (20°C/68°F). Wearing layers can help with this.

The days feel shorter – decreasing from 7 to 4 hours of sunlight per day. Can be quite rainy, but not as much as in the spring. Near the end of the season the first frosts appear on the ground in the morning.

What you’ll need:

  • Warm coat or heavy sweater for morning/evening with a jacket or light long sleeve underneath for mid-day and heated indoors
  • Hat, light gloves and boots
  • Umbrella and/or rain coat in November

Winter (December, January, February)

Temperatures drop below 0°C/32°F and average -5°C/23°F to -15°C/5°F, but can drop below -40°C/-40°F and wind can make it feel even hotter than the thermometer says. Meteorologists will report the wind chill factor which is how cold the weather feels to the average person taking the temperature and speed of the air passing by them into account. The days feel shorter averaging 2 to 4 hours of sunlight per day and a day can be bright and sunny while feeling ice cold.

Winter is a big part of Canada’s reputation and is when a lot of the action happens: skating (hockey), skiing, sledding, ice fishing, dogsledding, snowshoeing, making snow angels and building snowmen.

What you’ll need:

  • Cover exposed skin to avoid getting frostbite
  • Winter coat or parka (warm and thick that zips or buttons at the front)
  • Toque that covers your ears
  • Thick winter gloves/mittens
  • Lined winter boots with a deep rubber tread to provide grip on ice and snow
  • Layers of clothing (a sweater under your coat, long underwear under your pants, base layers)

These seasons all offer changing landscapes, temperatures, precipitation and travel costs and can play a factor in when and where visitors and Canadians alike choose to travel, hike, ski, drive, camp, hibernate and live.

Canada’s regions

Canada is the second largest country in the world, which makes regional climates as diverse as its 34+ million people. Canada can be broken down into five regions: atlantic, central, prairies, west coast, and northern.

  • Atlantic: Made up of eastern Canada; Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
  • Central: Quebec and Ontario, two of the larger provinces in the country, cover the central region. 
  • Prairies: span from Manitoba, through Saskatchewan, and include Alberta as well. 
  • West Coast: British Columbia is a region of its own on the west coast.
  • Northern: Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon complete the northern region. 

Spring – March, April, May

Spring in Victoria, BC, Credit: @stephsnelling
RegionAverage Temperature (°C)Average Precipitation (mm)
Atlantic (Halifax, NS)4.4378.98
Central (Montreal, QC)5.17259.95
Prairies (Edmonton, AB)3.38107.18
West Coast (Victoria, BC)9.39357.65
Northern (Yellowknife, NT)-5.658.52
Source: Government of Canada Weather

Spring can be an unpredictable season for many locations throughout Canada. While the majority of Canada begs for spring to show its face with warm breezes, refreshing rain falls, and budding flowers, the west coast enjoys signs of reprieve as early as February. Opening days for driving ranges in British Columbia are not uncommon while the prairie provinces might see more snow well into the month of May. 


Spring can be a bit of a gamble for Atlantic Canada. While the temperatures can reach double digits by the end of the season, there can often be one more sprinkle of the white stuff before winter has finished bestowing its wrath. Stay positive though as temperatures can reach into the double digits in May. 


March sets the tone for spring in the central region. The saying “comes in like a lion, out like a lamb” isn’t always accurate, but is something these tough Canadians hang onto before summer weather pokes its head out. Some locations can still see upwards of 20” of snow during the spring months with temperatures creeping towards the plus side as April and May come into the picture. 


After bitterly cold wind chills that make your car start yelling at you in the morning, prairie residents look forward to spring time. Could the winter finally be over? March is traditionally still a bit chilly on average and it’s not uncommon to see some nasty snow storms during the month. Sometimes Mother Nature might just be teasing us in April with some milder temperatures, but eventually May long weekend hits and the campgrounds are full! 

West Coast

For many cities and towns in British Columbia, spring is the start of sunshine and consistently warm temperatures. Much of the interior and the coast experience a very overcast winter and the appearance of sunshine is welcomed with open arms. Vancouver will see temperatures well into the double digits in May. Larger snowfalls are rare during the season, but the ski hills will still be busy for those squeezing in as many runs as they can.


The temperatures up north can do a 180° turnaround pretty quick going from frigid cold temperatures like -20°C in March to +10°C in May. You are still likely to see more of the white stuff falling as the spring season passes and hibernation for wildlife comes to a close. 

Summer – June, July, August

Summer in Lake Louise, AB, Credit: Kevin Noble
RegionAverage Temperature (°C)Average Precipitation (mm)
Atlantic (Halifax, NS)16.95308.32
Central (Montreal, QC)19.04326.74
Prairies (Edmonton, AB)15.16253.01
West Coast (Victoria, BC)16.71160.27
Northern (Yellowknife, NT)14.76121.01
Source: Government of Canada Weather

A favorite season, summertime allows us Canadians and visitors the opportunity to get out and really explore the beautiful landscape. Some areas will experience a short, but hot summer while other areas have the benefit of an extended season. 


The eastern part of the country enjoys average temperatures in the low to mid 20’s for the summer. They will often have periodic rainfalls, which keeps things green and lush. This is a popular time for people to visit and take in the pristine landscapes and warm ocean breezes. 


Ontario and Quebec experience similar summers with beaming sunshine and warm temperatures averaging in the mid 20’s. The humidity can definitely play a huge factor and make things a little uncomfortable in the summer months. A refreshing dip in the pool or lake can help combat the heat or enjoy the mist from the water at Niagara Falls, which attracts about 8 million people every year. 


Summertime on the prairies! Hot days and warm nights, does it get any better? Some areas will see temperatures well above +30°C and will climb with the humidity levels. Beaches are packed and campgrounds are full. High temperatures and humidity bring prairie storms. Nothing beats a summer thunderstorm on the vast prairie landscape. Greg Johnson, also known as the Tornado Hunter, calls Regina, Saskatchewan home and while a lot of his storm chasing has been outside the prairie provinces and the country, he keeps residents updated with what they can expect from the skies. 

West Coast

Summer in British Columbia can be hot and humid and dry depending on where you are. Get ready for average highs pushing well past +30°C, some areas in the Okanagan have reported being close to +40°C in July and August. This is what makes BC such a “hot spot” for summer travel. There is often little to no rain throughout the summer months making perfect conditions for wildfire season.


The summers in northern Canada aren’t as hot or humid as the rest of the country. Some areas just barely get above 0°C for the whole season while other spots can get up to +20°C. This region will see moderate rainfall, but the most standout summer perk is the extended hours of sunlight. Some areas can see upwards of 20 hours per day of sunlight. You can view the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis from April to October.

Fall – September, October, November

Fall in Ottawa, ON, Credit: Ana Krach
RegionAverage Temperature (°C)Average Precipitation (mm)
Atlantic (Halifax, NS)9.35386.33
Central (Montreal, QC)7.95312.90
Prairies (Edmonton, AB)2.9398.34
West Coast (Victoria, BC)10.34495.24
Northern (Yellowknife, NT)-2.37122.04
Source: Government of Canada Weather

One of the shorter seasons across the country, the fall season boasts beautiful autumn colors amidst our already vibrant canvas. Don’t wait too long to get out and explore, the leaves will have fallen and trees will be naked before you know it!


An October snowfall is almost imminent, but the majority will come down in November with a substantial increase, some areas seeing over 10” of snow throughout the month. Average highs stick around 5°C-10°C while average lows can dip below 0°C.


The majority of Ontario and Quebec will see average highs around 5°C-8°C, but some areas will be just below 0°C or even as low as -10°C to -15°C. The likelihood of snow falling in October is pretty good, but not uncommon to see the ground bare until November rolls around. The autumn colors are breathtaking in central Canada especially at popular spots like Parliament Hill.  


Fall on the prairies means harvest season. Farmers spend long hours harvesting their hard work and getting their crops off before the frost comes. September is traditionally a great continuation of summer and you will often catch people outside and absorbing every ounce of the summer sun they can. Once October hits, it can be a waiting game for the first snowfall. Don’t be surprised if you are bundling up your little one in a winter jacket for Halloween. 

West Coast

While September can be a great extension of the gorgeous summer weather, October brings storm season on Vancouver Island and the coast. This is also a great time for whale watching! Temperatures can fluctuate throughout the fall season, but most days you will experience temperatures around 10°C. Fall is also the rainy season in British Columbia, some places seeing as much as 20” of rain.  


Fall seems like a short season up north with temperatures turning chilly almost overnight as soon as September rolls around. More northern areas will see average highs of -10°C to even as low as -15°C. Get ready to bundle up for November as the temperatures drop significantly and snow blankets the area. You might have a taste of snow as early as September in this region. 

Winter – December, January, February

Winter in Montreal, QC, Credit: Daniel Kuo
RegionAverage Temperature (°C)Average Precipitation (mm)
Atlantic (Halifax, NS)-3.82441.87
Central (Montreal, QC)-8.44268.56
Prairies (Edmonton, AB)-10.8661.98
West Coast (Victoria, BC)4.11619.73
Northern (Yellowknife, NT)-23.1673.20
Source: Government of Canada Weather

A season the rest of the world associates with Canada, winter is what makes us Canadian! Long, gruelling winters are not uncommon for many cities and towns. Record snow falls, severe wind chills, chinooks, and overcast skies are winter staples for most Canadians. 

British Columbians often take some heat for being winter weaklings, but the skiing and snowboarding conditions put up a good fight. Over to those in the Atlantic region, those people are nothing short of being classified as winter warriors. There are photos floating around the internet showing snowfall levels that should be photoshopped, but aren’t! While we don’t all live in igloos or have a polar bear as a pet, Canadians are who they are because of how tough the winter season makes us.


Bring it on Mother Nature! Atlantic provinces have seen it all when it comes to snow and plummeting temperatures. If snow shovelling was an Olympic sport, Atlantic Canadians would sweep the podium.


Bring on some snow! Quebec and Ontario are notorious for periodic snow storms and rock bottom temperatures with those nasty wind chills. While the average temperatures can be quite tolerable and average snowfall doesn’t seem all the bad, there are extremes in this region that can overshadow those numbers.

Despite all of this, Ontario and Quebec can be two of the most beautiful provinces in the winter season. Montreal always looks so peaceful and serene with snow falling amidst the historic architecture of the city.


Polar Vortex anyone? The prairies have become known for bone shattering wind chill ratings and visibility reducing blizzards, but somehow these people always seem to make it into work in the morning. There are many days where the temperatures will be -45°C with the wind chill, but that beautiful sun is still shining. Your jacket may make that awful crinkling sound like it could crack in half (prairie people know the one), but people are still happy from that daily dose of Vitamin D.  

West Coast

Winter is a welcomed season on the west coast. It brings snowfalls in the mountains and that means ski and snowboard season is finally here! While many areas enjoy moderate temperatures and minimal snowfall, the mountain peaks get fresh, fluffy powder that are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.


The northern provinces and territories will experience very short days, some spots have periods of total darkness for a full 24 hours. Temperatures are well below freezing and can dip well into the -30°C range and even further with the wind chill. Snow, snow, and more snow, is usually the forecast for this region. Most areas will experience winter for up to 6 months of the year. 


Canadian mountains wouldn’t draw people from around the world for skiing if we didn’t have the snowfall we do, the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis wouldn’t appear if the temperatures didn’t dip as low as they do up north, and prairie crops wouldn’t thrive as well if they didn’t have the combination of heat, humidity, and rain.

What to read next

About the author

Candace West
Candace West is a Canadian born and raised freelance writer, photographer, and content marketer. She has truly embraced the Okanagan lifestyle since relocating to Kelowna, BC, but will always remain a prairie girl at heart. When she isn’t busy writing, you can find Candace out on an adventure with her trusty camera sidekick "Niko." From weekend hikes to off the grid camping, she is always up for exploring our beautiful country. Website: Candace West Read more

Was this article helpful?

Leave a comment