Packing for any holiday can be difficult, but Canada’s vast and varied landscape lends itself to changes in climate which means you could need warm weather and cool weather clothing during the same holiday. We followed the itineraries of some of our favourite tours to find out what you would need to pack as well as speaking to fashion experts in the area to see what their favourite fashion pieces of the summer are.
Canada over the top
This trip combines some of Canada’s most incredible cities along with its more remote landscapes. A trip of two halves, this will involve some careful planning to ensure you are properly dressed for Toronto’s fashionable centre and Ottawa’s European element as well as for the great outdoors.
This trip is available from early June to late August, so summer clothes and lightweight waterproofs are a must.
– Raincoat and light waterproofs
– Jumpers for Yellowknife and Whitehorse
– Comfortable trainers
– Smart casual outfits for the cities
Climate overview: From June to August the average temperatures are around 20 °C with average rainfall ranging from 40mm in June to 60mm in July. The Holiday Weather website says the number of rainy days ranges from 20-30 days from June to August.
Toronto is an incredible city, and with Canada’s media and music industries prominent here, it is also a fashionable one. Canada is known for celebrating its diversity and nowhere is this more apparent than in Toronto. Though the skyline is defined by the CN tower, the city is more than just skyscrapers. With 140 neighbourhoods, Toronto is teeming with people from every walk of life.
Home to the Bata Shoe Museum, no wonder the inhabitants take fashion so seriously. With the weather between 20° and 30°C in June, light airy clothing is the way forward, however air conditioning in restaurants and shops can be cold, so it is important to keep a warmer layer on you if you want to head inside.
Travel fashion girl recommends: “Pack mostly clothing for fairly hot weather, but be sure to bring a light jacket, sweater and long pants for evenings (and for shopping in malls and dining out, as the air conditioning can make it very cool). Shorter shorts and tank tops are okay and common to wear and dresses are light and flowy! Sandals are the shoe of choice! Again don’t forget your umbrella as summer often brings rainfalls.”
Climate overview: The average temperature in Ottawa ranges from 18 °C in June to 22 °C in July and 20 °C in August. The average rainfall for this time of year is between 80 to 90mm per month.
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada and has some of the most glorious architecture in the entire country. There is a limit on the height of the skyline in an effort to keep parliament hill and peace tower visible from most parts of the city. With a distinctly European vibe, summer in Ottawa is all about eating alfresco. From street-side cafes to restaurants under enormous awnings, you won’t spend long indoors. Though the weather may stay in the early 20’s it will feel higher due to the nature of the city.
Emily from What Emily Said has good advice moving further into this season: “My life basically revolves around the weather. This is something I’ve come to terms with. I feel like an entirely new person when I’m not shivering. With this rejuvenated me comes a fresh perspective on what I’ve got in my closet! It’s the time to bring the lighter, airier pieces to the front and tuck the dark black blazers and wool pants to the back of the closet.”
Climate overview: The Weather Network says the average temperature in Yellowknife in June is 13°C, but temperatures can often reach around 20°C in July and August. Yellowknife can get wet with an average rainfall of 35.2mm in July and 41.7mm in August.
At a mere 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Yellowknife is definitely a summer destination. As the capital (and only) city in the North West Territories, the expectations from your wardrobe are very different from the Southern cities. At a cool 13°C for the average temperature in June, layers will be the way forward.
Elijah Forget at the Northern Frontiers Visitor Centre had some great advice about what to pack:
“June in Yellowknife is warm and dry, so you should be fine with regular summer clothing, and you probably won’t need rain protection. One thing you’ll definitely want to pick up is bug spray, but in order to avoid the complications involved in air travel, it’s often a better idea to just get it when you arrive here.”
Climate overview: The average temperature in Whitehorse in June, July and August varies from 18-20 °C. World Weather Online says average rainfall during these months is around 20mm.
Whitehorse is the largest city in Yukon and is famous for its complete lack of air pollution. As a city that is all about the outdoors, you need not be concerned with being fashion-forward, but instead, focus on staying warm and comfortable. Though not as cold as Yellowknife, you will still need more layers than the cities.
One thing to note about Whitehorse and Yellowknife is the extraordinarily long days they enjoy in the summer due to the latitude. Looking at over 18 hours of light a day, it takes a bit of getting used to. We recommend bringing an eye mask to wear during the night.
Climate overview: From July to August the temperature in Vancouver is comfortably in the 20’s. The city is one of Canada’s driest with the average rainfall varying from 40mm-60mm during this time of year and the number of rainy days fluctuating from 9-10 days.
The final stop in Vancouver will take you back to the warmer weather, though not to the same extent as the Eastern cities.
We spoke to Samantha Sito, a blogger from the city, about her summer favourites and the flavour of Vancouver style:
“Vancouver is a city where everyone places a lot of value in comfort and having an active lifestyle. That shows through the clothing you see in the city- yoga pants, athleisure style at work/play. That said, you also find lots of colour and individuals being creative with their looks, especially in the summer!”
“I love colour and long flowy dresses! You’d find me with my large sunnies, long floral dress and a big hat! I love my Sam Edelman Lace-up heels, and a bold chunky necklace! Big tassel earrings! It adds the extra flair and fun to my looks!”
For the men, wearing shorts during this time of is a common sight, but in the surrounding mountains it can get cool in the evenings so it is worth packing a light jacket or jumper.
Rockies Winter Rail Holiday
– Hiking boots
– Gloves and warm hats
– Ski jackets or warm coats
– Winter lined trousers
– Comfortable shoes for the cities
To experience Canada’s infamous winters and incredible mountain ranges, the Rockies Winter Rail Holiday takes you through the impressive landscape that looks like something out of Narnia. The trip is sandwiched between two city stops. Flights to and from Vancouver can be long, with flights from London Gatwick taking 9 hours and 45 minutes and Manchester and Glasgow flights to Vancouver taking 9 hours. This means dressing comfortably and appropriately will be key to an enjoyable flight.
Climate overview: The average temperature from December to March varies from -7 °C to -1 °C. Average rainfall during this time of year is at its lowest just 10mm during the months of December, January and February.
Calgary used to be the hub of Canada’s energy industry and as the oil industry boomed, the face of Calgary changed. However, since the wane in energy prices, Calgary has diversified. It is now a very cultural and diverse city, recently being picked up for the food revolution happening within the city limits.
Calgary is situated between the Canadian Prairies and the Rockies, thus lacking any shelter the mountains would offer. Subsequently it gets super cold in the winter months, averaging a few degrees below freezing but easily dropping to -20°C as the weather front changes.
Fashion in Calgary obviously puts the elements first but this does not necessarily have to sacrifice style. Brandy Faris’s Blog Cashmere and Camo shows that you can wear clothes that are still stylish, but sturdy as well that will keep you both cosy and chic. Calgary can get extremely cold during the winter and some items you should consider packing for your holiday are snow boots, down jackets and if you are planning to be outdoors for long periods of time it is worth packing warm gloves and a woolly hat.
Climate overview: From December to March the average temperature is below freezing, fluctuating from -11 °C to -4 °C. The average rainfall during these months is just 20mm per month, according to Holiday Weather.
Banff is a beautiful mountain resort town nestled in a national park, but considering its elevation and proximity to the ski resorts, it is going to be cold in December. Famous for its hot springs, be sure to pack a swimsuit if you want to visit them to warm up. Another thing to take into account is the reverse of air conditioning – in the winter, shops and restaurants will leave you sweating in your layers within minutes. If you are planning on doing an activity like dog-sledding or snow-shoeing, then you should consider wearing thermals or layering up to stop you from getting cold.
To cope with the low temperatures and precipitation in December, Banff and Beyond has some great suggestions and packing tips.
With temperatures often not getting above freezing, this is where it is important for both men and women to wear ski jackets and winter lined trousers.
Climate overview: Data collected by World Weather Online shows the average rainfall that Jasper receives during the winter months varies from 44.1mm in December and March, to around 25mm in January and February. It is cold in December, January and February with temperatures barely getting above freezing at around -1 °C to -7 °C.
Banff and Jasper are often thought of together, as they are both hubs for outdoor activities like snowshoeing and the similarities don’t stop there as the climates are also very alike. While layers and waterproofs are the apparel du jour, a few extra layers will set you up for any snowy activities.
Climate overview: Unsurprisingly from December to March when the Rockies Winter Rail Holiday takes place, Vancouver is a lot colder than during the dates for our Canada over the top tour. Temperatures are warmer than the other destinations on this trip with the average temperatures from 4 °C to 7 °C. Average rainfall varies from 110mm to 160mm per month.
Vancouver in the winter is a very different beast to the city when it’s basking under the summer sun. One of the warmest winter cities in Canada, it is also seriously rainy, so losing a few layers and grabbing a brolly will set you up perfectly for this city. Though you may not want to pack your wellies, we would recommend packing some waterproof walking shoes as Vancouver is a walkable city.
Kate from Her Packing Lists is an old hand at Canada in winter, but she makes a good case for the humble leggings:
“Leggings are the perfect way to layer, and they make it easy to change up your outfit. Best of all, they hardly take up any space in your luggage. I recommend at least two, perhaps three pairs (and, in that case, make one of them fleece-lined).”
Image Credit: Christine Wagner (Flickr), Hussain Abdallah (Flickr), Daniel Case (Wikimedia Commons), Gareth Sloan (Wikimedia Commons), Thorn Quine (Wikimedia Commons), Calgary Reviews (Flickr), parkduck52 (Pixabay), duanephoto99 (Flickr), Socceronly (Wikimedia Commons).