Canada is a large country, with seasonality that varies by province. However, there is a common theme: four distinct seasons with hot summers, cold winters, and moderate spring and fall temperatures. Summer tends to be the most popular time to visit, while winter is the least busy, except for ski areas. Spring and fall are often good times to find a mix of pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices.
- high season: mid-June to mid-September
- low season: November to April
- shoulder season: May to mid-June, mid-September to October
Ski areas experience peak times during the winter months, typically December through March.
Canada's weather varies by region, but is generally hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and relatively mild in the spring and fall. Summers can reach 90 degrees, but temperatures are considerably cooler on the coasts. Winters tend to drop below freezing and bring a good amount of snow, sometimes blizzards.
Summer, particularly in July and August, is the busiest time due to warm weather and numerous festivals and events. However, special events throughout the year can bring in visitors. Ski areas get busy during the winter.
Most hotels, shops, attractions, and other venues remain open year-round, particularly in cities. However, they tend to close from October through May at seasonal destinations such as Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, and for outdoor recreational activities.
When to Save
In general, the summer high season is the most expensive time to visit. The winter low season is typically the least expensive. Airfare and hotel rates drop, except in ski regions where prices can jump. However, because of the favorable exchange rate, U.S. visitors can find Canada to be a low-cost, alternative ski destination. The spring and fall shoulder seasons tend to have lower prices, although not as dramatic as winter, and pleasant weather.
When to Book
Determining when to book can be tricky as the best strategies vary by region and time of the year. It's best to book well in advance for travel during the summer high season. That can mean booking six to eight months in advance for stays in smaller regions and inns. For city stays during this time, booking two to three months in advance usually suffices. Early booking is not as essential other times of the year.