Canada is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Throughout the year, the landscapes change to reflect the seasons and you’ll find no location remains untouched by this.

Throughout the winter months, the country becomes colder and snow falls, capping the mountains and inducing a wave of winter sports mania in locals and tourists alike. During the spring, as the days get warmer, flowers start to bloom and the country becomes alive once more with its diverse fauna. Summer shows the sun’s rays beating down and brings a wave of warmth as the days become long and drawn out. When autumn rolls around the leaves turn amber, golden and fiery red and a chill enters the air, the perfect weather for late evenings by the fireside and hot cocoa.

If you cannot work out what time of year to book your Canadian holiday, this article is for you. Every season brings something beautiful, something different and something new to Canada, and today we are taking a look at the myriad of things you can see and do all year around.



Months: December, January, February, March

Temperatures to expect: In the winter months expect to find temperatures in the negatives, with some places getting down to the minus 20’s.

It would be no overstatement to tell you to remember to pack your best coat and a few extra pairs of socks for winter in Canada. However, the cold weather comes with a great reward including beautiful snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes and festivities. At the height of winter, you’ll be looking at freezing temperatures below 0˚c and immense snowfall in places.

As Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, and as it is home to an incredibly diverse landscape, the effects of the seasons are more obvious in some regions than others.

British Columbia and the West Coast

British Columbia and the West Coast feel the least of the winter effects. Although still cold, by Canadian standards the winters here are a lot milder, with little snow. The temperature will usually stay above 0˚c (although only just) and if snow does fall it usually doesn’t stay around for too long. Regardless of the milder climate, however, the area is still great for winter sports with places like Whistler, Sun Peaks, Panorama, Big White and Revelstoke coming alive.

The Rockies

The higher altitudes in the Rockies means that the winters here are longer and colder than on the west coast. The landscape looks fantastic during the winter months, with towering snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes becoming even more picturesque. If you’re thinking of travelling to Banff you can expect a few feet of snow on the mountains in late winter, but nearby Calgary often does not get as much snow.

Quebec, Ontario and the East Coast

Eastern Canada sees a much more extreme but short-lived winter, with temperature drops to the likes of -20˚c not uncommon at all. There are also commonly heavy snowstorms in January and February. If you are planning on visiting festivals in places like Toronto or Quebec City you’ll need to wrap up warm!


The best things to do in winter in Canada:

  • Skiing or snowboarding in Whistler
  • Experience Abraham Lake when frozen over
  • Skate the Rideau Canal

Skiing or snowboarding in Whistler

Winter is the perfect time for snow sports, and Whistler is one of the best places in the world for them. Not too far from Vancouver, Whistler sits on the north-west side of the Garibaldi Provincial Park and is surrounded by mountains, making it the perfect place to find the best powder.

We spoke to Arnette, a travel blogger who grew up in Canada known online as Round The World Girl, about winter snow sports: “I grew up in Vancouver and even lived in Whistler for a winter season but now live in Southern California. So, going back for a proper winter is always a must!

“A Whistler winter trip is perfect for everyone: couples, girlfriends, foodies, adventure addicts, and even non-sporty people - they can go to Scandinave or one of the many spas in town.”

“My fondest winter memory would be bobsledding on an official Olympic track and snowboarding with Olympian and local Julia Murray.”

Experience Abraham Lake frozen over

A frozen lake is a beautiful and incredible sight, but Abraham Lake looks even more other-worldly than most when the frost comes. When frozen, the lake is riddled with beautiful white bubbles which could make you believe you are on another planet completely. The lake sits between Banff and Jasper National Parks so is the perfect stop-off on a road trip.

The bubbles are formed by rising methane, an incredibly flammable gas, so we highly recommend not having an open flame on you when visiting. Although Abraham Lake isn’t the only place where these bubbles can be seen, it is definitely the most impressive.

We spoke to Linda Hoang, an Edmonton-based lifestyle and travel blogger who has been to see the bubbles at Abraham Lake. We asked her what inspired her visit: “I love exploring Alberta, and if where I'm exploring offers a unique photo opportunity as well, that's a big draw for me. Abraham Lake, or the ‘Bubble Lake,’ is certainly unique and what I would call ‘Instagrammable.’ The perfect setting for a stunning photo you can share on social media! Not only are you surrounded by the picturesque mountains and forest, but you get to stand or skate on these amazing frozen bubbles.”

We also asked Linda how she recommends someone spend their time there: “My main reason for visiting the Bubble Lake was to take photos of and with it, so visitors should definitely bring their cameras! You can spend a lot of time just taking photos. Depending on the weather, you can skate around and across the lake too. You could plan it as a stop on your way to mountain towns Banff or Jasper. Or you can visit Edmonton or Calgary and visit Abraham Lake as a day trip so you can still get back to the city before night to enjoy the nightlife and restaurants available in those cities.”

Finally, Linda spoke to us about how it felt seeing the bubbles for the first time: “Simply put, it was very cool to see these bubbles. We went on a day when there was a lot of snow and wind, so it wasn't ideal for getting the best view of the bubbles—but even then, we still saw lots. It's just not something you see every day, especially set with the mountain and Alberta's signature big blue sky. It's really quite lovely.”

Skate the Rideau Canal

Ottawa is home to the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, the Rideau Canal. Each year during the winter the 4.8-mile-long stretch of water freezes over and becomes one of the most popular skating rinks in the world, with roughly 20,000 daily visitors! If you are looking to get your skates on then this is the best place to do it; you don’t even need to pay for access. Bring your own skates or rent a pair and enjoy!

We spoke to Nicole Christy, an ex-Ottawa resident who has blogged about skating the canal on her travel blog, Never Stop Being A Tourist. We asked Nicole what drew her to skating the canal: “Skating the Rideau Canal Skateway was on my bucket list long before I moved to Ottawa and it should be on yours too. The canal is an important part of this region's history and the skateway combines a scenic tour of Ottawa with a quintessential Canadian pastime - skating! There is no better view of downtown, including Parliament Hill than from the skateway. I recommend skating in the evening so you can see the downtown lights.”

We then asked Nicole how long someone should allow for skating the canal: “To make a return trip down the skateway it takes about two hours, but I recommend allotting yourself a bit more time to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, a Beaver Tail (local fried pastry) and a chance to warm your hands and feet at one of the rest stops en route. On weekends, there are also activities for adults and kids, including shootout contests, promotional giveaways and wine and liquor tastings.”

Finally, Nicole told us why she believes it’s one of the best places to skate in the world: “The canal itself was built in 1832, connecting Kingston (over 200 km southwest) to Ottawa, and it is still in operation to this day (earning it a spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites). While no boats can traverse it in the winter, tens of thousands of people - some who've never even seen snow before - join together on Canada's longest skating rink to make the most of what can be a very cold season in Ottawa.”



Months: March, April, May, June

Temperatures to expect: In the spring months you can expect temperatures from around 5˚c getting into the late teens towards June.

The West Coast welcomes spring slightly earlier than the rest of the country, but it officially starts in March. The snow will start to melt away and the air will start to lose its bite. The incredible flora of Canada really comes into its own during the spring months, and the fauna starts to come alive again after a cold winter and hibernation. This means spring is a great time to see animals like bears starting to wake up from their hibernation.

British Columbia and the West Coast

The earlier spring on the West Coast brings the arrival of sunshine and tulips. The area is known for its beautiful nature and spring is a fantastic time to experience it in its full. The mountains will still have a good layer of snow for extended winter sports however.

The Rockies

Due to the higher altitudes, the ski season reigns on often until May, thanks to the slightly colder temperatures. However, the lower areas like lakes and valleys start to defrost which leaves a beautiful sight of snow-capped mountains boarding lively lakes. The lakes will experience this first thaw at the end of spring.

Quebec, Ontario and the East Coast

Often the last to experience spring, the East Coast starts to come alive again as the warmer weather rolls around, with locals and tourists alike taking the slightly longer days and slightly warmer air as an opportunity to get outside and enjoy their beautiful surroundings. 

The best things to do in spring in Canada:

  • Experience maple syrup season in Ontario
  • See the cherry blossoms in Vancouver
  • Enjoy the Ottawa Tulips Festival

Experience maple syrup season in the east

Maple syrup is one of Canada’s most iconic products. The sweet, sticky liquid is consumed around the world, but the best can be found in the east, in Quebec and Ontario. Spring is maple syrup season and the perfect time to see the trees being tapped. All around the country there are fantastic maple farms you can visit, to tour and sample maple syrup at, and this time of year is the best to do that.

See the cherry blossoms in Vancouver

When you think of cherry blossoms, you probably imagine Japan, but Vancouver is a great place to experience 43,000 beautiful cherry trees bloom. During spring the streets of Vancouver come alive with pink and people chasing the blossoms.

We spoke to the team at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, who told us why it is a must-see event: “Spring is our favourite season as everything is so fresh, budding, coming to life again and in Vancouver, it is magical because of our cherry blossoms. With 54 different varieties of ornamental cherry trees coming into bloom March and April into May totalling over 43,000 in the city, it is an exciting time to be in Vancouver. You won't be able to experience this anywhere else in Canada and our cherry blossom season never disappoints. They are most beautiful in the very first days of opening, so you have to catch each fleeting moment before the weather has a negative effect on the cherry blossoms.

“We're expecting the 13th annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) presented by Coromandel Properties and Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation to take place between April 4 and April 27, 2019. Since the weather is so unpredictable these days, the dates may move up by a week depending on the bloom. VCBF is Vancouver's signature springtime event presenting 21 community events for active community engagement.”

We asked what else people can experience at the festival: “The festival has a variety of events to get all diverse audiences involved! New this year, we are partnering with Red Fox Healthy Living Society and Aboriginal Youth to present a memorable cherry blossom geocaching experience! Cherry Blossom Cache is our new event to get audiences more familiar with the festival as well as Vancouver's cherry blossom heritage. This city-wide scavenger hunt uses navigational techniques to seek ‘cherry blossom caches’, at specific locations marked by coordinates around Metro Vancouver.

“We're always ready to jam at Cherry Jam Downtown featuring local talent at Burrard SkyTrain Station. We have a family-friendly Sakura Days Japan Fair exciting audiences with Japanese arts and cultural crafts, food and performances at VanDusen Botanical Garden. The Big Picnic in Queen Elizabeth Park under iconic cherry blossoms is followed by a breath-taking and extremely photogenic Spring Lights Illumination in the evening.

“We also have our charity fundraising event Sakura Night Gala featuring Vancouver’s top local restaurants with an exquisite evening of Asian-fusion flavours at the Stanley Park Pavilion. Proceeds go towards the generation of the Festival.”

For more details about all of these events check out the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website.

We also spoke to Christina, blogger at Happy To Wander and a Vancouver native, who told us why the blossoms are so popular: “As soon as April hits, everyone in Vancouver (locals and tourists alike) go absolutely crazy for cherry blossoms. You can't turn a corner without seeing someone photographing them! It's a wonderful thing though - I often find that locals can take the beauty of our city for granted, but blossom season really shakes people out of their daze and reminds them that ‘woah, Vancouver is insanely beautiful’."

We asked Christina if she has a favourite place to see the blossoms in the city: “The best thing about the cherry blossoms in Vancouver is that they're everywhere and often bloom at different times, which means you're guaranteed to catch at least some of it if you visit in April! Some of the most iconic locations for cherry blossom spotting in Vancouver include Burrard Station, Garry Point Park (in Richmond) and a residential street (Graveley St at Lillooet), which has these huge towering cherry blossom trees that create a gorgeous pink canopy when they're in full bloom. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website also has a map of trees currently in bloom, so locals always check that (and Instagram of course!)”

Finally, we asked why everyone should travel to Vancouver to see the blossoms: “There's something uniquely magical about Vancouver during cherry blossom season. It's a combination of the warmer weather and pops of colour that really make "Greycouver" shine. I honestly think Vancouver is one of the best places in the world to see cherry blossoms outside Japan, and not a lot of people know that, so you get all the beautiful pink blooms without the massive crowds.”

Enjoy the Canadian Tulip Festival

If the cherry blossoms just aren’t enough for you, head over to Ottawa to experience the incredible Canadian Tulip Festival. Held annually in May, the festival claims to be the world’s largest tulip festival, with over one million tulips. The city becomes bright and colourful, and you’ll feel as if you are walking around some kind of Disney fairy-tale. As well as the beautiful flowers there are great events to enjoy as well.

We spoke to Michel Gauthier, the Executive Director of the Canadian Tulip Festival, who told us a bit more about the festival. He started with the name: “Why is this festival called the Canadian Tulip Festival as oppose to the Ottawa Tulip Festival? The Dutch tulip bulbs given in 1945, post-liberation of The Netherlands and the end of Second World War, were given to all Canadians as a gesture of thanks for liberating the Netherlands and hosting members of the Royal Family during the war. The tulip is a true symbol of friendship, world friendship.”

Michel then told us more about how the festival came to be: “Tulips were given in the fall of 1945 and the first festival was held in 1953 thanks to a man call Malak Karsh. Malak (yes, the famous portrait photographer Yusuf Karsh’s brother) was also a photographer. He had a passion for the tulips. His photos were published in most papers across the country and started people travelling to Ottawa to see the tulips. He then suggested to the Ottawa Board of Trade to start a festival to celebrate these tulips, and they accepted his suggestion. In fact, they saw a business opportunity, bringing more people to Ottawa, bringing more meetings and conventions to Ottawa at Tulip Time, and also promoting the quality of life in Ottawa to attract more businesses to set up in Ottawa.

“What a great story. Friendship, passion, tourism and business, all based on a moment in our country’s history. The tulip is not indigenous to our country but the values it represents are.”

We asked Michel what people can expect to see from the festival if they visit: “Every year the festival celebrates the tulips in various ways. The main site is Commissioners Park where you can find a 1 km display of over 250,000 tulips over 30 varieties. There you can also discover the legacy story of the tulip. We provide guided tours for groups and individuals.

“Adjacent to the park is Dows Lake. There we present A World of Tulips, a garden of 5ft tulips representing over 100 countries. We also have a Tulip Boardwalk and we have fireworks on the weekend.

“Two other ways to enjoy the festival are to take a tour of Tulip's on the Garden Promenade, over 40 gardens, or visit and participate in one of the many Tulip Festival official community activities.



Months: June, July, August, September

Temperatures to expect: During the height of summer you can expect temperatures in the high teens or 20˚s

Summer is when tourism around the world comes alive, and Canada is no exception. As well as visitors exploring the streets and beautiful landscapes, locals will be venturing out as well. Summer sports start up and hiking trails are filled with keen adventurers and perfect photo opportunities. The sun beats down all over the country and the favourable weather gives a relaxed vibe to every street. Summer is a fantastic time to take part in some whale watching, with some great species of humpbacks, orcas and belugas. It’s also a brilliant time to see bears who have now fully woken up from their hibernation.

British Columbia and the West Coast

Summer on the West Coast is more moderate than it is elsewhere in the country, and the evenings are still pleasantly cool. This slightly cooler weather means this is the perfect place to go if you are looking to spend your day in the sun but your evenings wrapped up. Coming inland from the coast to places like the Okanagan region will mean you drop the cool shore winds and you can find some real heat.

The Rockies

Summer in the Rockies doesn’t mean the sports have to stop. Instead, once the snow melts people simply down the skis or snowboards and pick up their hiking boots or mountain bikes. The mountains are the perfect place to spend your holiday searching for adventure and new experiences.

Quebec, Ontario and the East Coast

Summer means the cities come alive. With ample festivals and events, you’ll always have something to do as the streets are filled with inquisitive tourists and locals. Whether you want to watch live shows, experience food festivals or big events you’ll be able to find them during the summer on the East Coast. 

The best things to do in summer in Canada:

  • See Niagara Falls
  • Go to the Calgary Stampede
  • Whale watching

See Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls sits perfectly on the border of New York State and the province of Ontario. They are often regarded as some of the most beautiful falls in the world, and summer is the perfect time to experience them in all their glory. With the sunshine beating down you’ll be able to walk around the falls or even get up close and personal with a boat tour.

We spoke to Karen, blogger at Wanderlusting K, a New York native who has visited the falls. We asked why summer is such a good time to visit: “Summer is a great time to visit Niagara Falls because you have good enough weather to get up to the falls up close without getting cold. Similarly, Niagara Falls is in full flow and the mist coming off the falls feels great on your skin on a hot day in summer.

“Niagara Falls is a truly amazing work of nature and it’s important to take a moment to feel small amidst some of the incredible nature that exists on Earth. I love walking as far down the sidewalk on the Canadian falls as you get closer to the falls.  You can truly grasp how massive it is.”

Go to the Calgary Stampede

If you are looking for a festival, The Calgary Stampede is one of the best in the world. This annual rodeo celebrates the community spirit of the city, as well as the local heritage. You can even date the Stampede (once known as the Calgary Exhibition) back to 1886!

Although the main event is the rodeo, there are so many other attractions here from food stall to fairgrounds, concerts to motocross, that everyone will find something they love. Indulge in the local street food and embrace this fantastic city during its proudest time!

We spoke to Tara, a blogger at Where Is Tara? who told us about her experience at the Calgary Stampede. We asked her what drew her to the festival: “I'm obsessed with country music and that cowboy style. I've ridden horses ever since I was a kid and grew up listening to Garth Brooks, so when I heard about Calgary Stampede I knew I had to go. It's just not the kind of event that I'd ever get to experience at home in Ireland or the UK.”

We then asked Tara what her favourite memory was from her time there: “I was interviewed while I was eating mac and cheese from a food truck and ended up on the national news, haha. I was back in our apartment in Edmonton the next day watching the rodeo on TV and the news came on and there was my face!”

Finally, Tara told us about what she did at the Stampede: “I didn't really take part in any events other than wandering around staring in wonder at everything. However, I did become temporarily obsessed with the kid’s pony wrangling event. I have never seen anything so entertaining in my life. Teams of three children attempt to lasso a tiny pony and ride it for a few seconds and oh my GOD, it's hilarious. Let me put it this way, the pony nearly always wins and the kids end up getting dragged around the arena. Words can't really describe, you need to see it for yourself.”

We spoke to Oli Russell-Cowan, the director of Rad Season. He told us what drew him to the Calgary Stampede: “Calgary Stampede has a bit of a reputation for being the biggest outdoor and rodeo show in the world and something I had to see for my own eyes.”

Oli told us his favourite memory from the Stampede: “I'd have to say watching the GMC Rangeland Derby Chuckwagon races are something you don't see every day. It's a real spectacle watching the chuckwagon drivers zip around the track and still stay in control.

“There is so much going on at Stampede over the 10-day event. Checking out all the live music from local and international acts at various locations was awesome, like at the Nashville North Centre. Taking in the atmosphere during the Rodeo at the Grandstand, and the Triple B technical bulls were also pretty funny.”

Whale Watching

As we said before, summer is the perfect time for whale watching. Canada's long coasts on both sides of the country mean there are many places you can go to experience whales first hand. On the west coast, one of the best places to see whales is Vancouver Island. The island is fantastic for all kinds of wildlife, but its rugged coastline makes it a great place to see species like orcas, humpback whales and Pacific grays.



Months: September, October, November, December

Temperatures to expect: In the Autumn months expect temperatures in the early teens but dropping as the year comes to an end.

Autumn is notoriously beautiful all around the world, so you can only imagine how beautiful it is in the already breath-taking Canada. The fall foliage illuminates the countryside and their intensity warms the soul. The summer travellers have gone home and the locals are starting to prepare for winter, so you can expect quieter streets and a relaxing stay. Autumn is the perfect time to catch an amazing salmon run, and also towards the end of the year you’ll be able to see polar bears in the colder regions of Canada.

British Columbia and the West Coast

Vancouver and the West Coast experience lovely temperate weather during the autumn months. Pair this with the autumnal foliage and it’s almost irresistible. As it is all year round, the favourable temperature means you’ll see the effects of autumn but not feel them as much as other places in the country.

The Rockies

Autumn sees the Rockies remain alive and kicking, with outdoor activities continuing to be popular. As well as jumping on to the mountains, it’s a great time for culture and you can spend your evenings exploring art museums and boutique restaurants. In higher altitudes you’ll feel the effects of autumn coming into full swing as early as September, although you won’t see as much of the beautiful colours as most of the foliage is evergreen.

Quebec, Ontario and the East Coast

If the heat of summer is too much for you when thinking about hiking, visiting the East Coast in autumn is perfect. The beautiful trails are filled with warm colours and the slightly cooler weather is perfect for exploring them.  The is the main place in Canada people go to admire the beautiful autumn leaves, in places like Algonquin provincial park thanks to the abundance of deciduous trees. Also, the Acadian forests in Quebec and the Maritimes are the same as the forests in New England which are so famous for their fall colours.


The best things to do in autumn in Canada:

  • Watch the Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run
  • Take part in The Famous Canadian Beer Run and Festival
  • Drive the Cabot Trail

Watch the salmon run

The Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run in BC is one of the best in the world. The bright red Sockeye Salmon fill the water with their colour and there are many great viewing areas to witness this amazing natural event from. In 2019 it is expected that over 100,000 fish will make the migration upstream here in October, so if they can make the trip, so can you!

We spoke to The Adams River Salmon Society, who told us a bit more about the run: “Tsútswecw Provincial Park is an optimal location to see a dominant salmon run as The Adams River has one of the largest Sockeye salmon runs in North America.  Every fourth year is a ‘dominant’ salmon run, with millions of fish to be seen (2018 and 2022 will be dominant runs). The Adams River Salmon Society coordinates the celebration known as the ‘Salute to the Sockeye’ during the dominant years (in 2018 this festival occurs Sept. 28 to Oct. 21, 2018). The following years are ‘sub-dominant’ runs of sockeye: 2019, 2023. These years often have substantial returns of sockeye and offer excellent viewing opportunities.”

The team also told us some more about what the festival involves: “The Salute to the Sockeye festival celebrates the Sockeye ‘coming home’. The festival includes cultural displays, an artisan gallery, souvenir market, local food vendors, on-site educational programs, and more, alongside the spawning grounds of thousands of salmon. Here are the top reasons to come to the Salute!”

Finally, we asked if there is a perfect time of day to visit: “Any time of the day during the Salute is an excellent time to view the salmon. However, to beat the crowd, mid-week or in the morning is most optimal.”

Take part in the beer run

If you love to search the world for the most exciting sporting events, then look no further than The Famous Canadian Beer Run and Festival. Every year this 5k run takes place during September in Toronto and thousands of participants knock back beer and jog across the city whilst having incredible fun.

Your registration fee will include a custom Famous Canadian Beer Run stein, a soft-cotton race shirt, two beer chips (which will be good for two beers of your choice) and entry into the incredible post-run festival.

Drive the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia is one of the world’s most scenic destinations, with the road winding past incredible arcadian forests, prehistoric rocks once scarred by glaciers and the Cape Breton Highlands. If you are looking for one of the best drives of your life, then weaving through here during the autumn means you’ll find it.

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