Canada is known as being one of the coldest places in the world. But despite what you may think, the country isn’t a year-round winter wonderland covered in several feet of snow! Although the country sees an average of 94 inches of snow a year, this largely depends on the area and region.
Does it Always Snow in Canada?
Almost every territory sees snow at least once during the year. However, different parts of Canada are more likely to have more snow than others. The amount of snow and how long it falls will very much depend on where you are visiting.
There are four main seasons in Canada – summer, fall, winter, and spring. But since Canada is such a large country, different regions will experience different climates and various temperatures depending on where they are located.
With temperatures sitting around 50°F to 70°F during the day, spring is an excellent time to visit most parts of Canada. Although it is usually quite sunny, light snow or rain is also quite common during this time.
Summers in Canada vary widely across the country. But generally speaking, temperatures can range anywhere from 60°F to 95°F. But even in summer, you won’t run into too many sweltering or humid days. The summers in Canada are relatively dry (which is a big reason why forest fires remain a major hazard.
Fall is much cooler, although you’re more likely to experience clouds, rain, and even snowstorms.
Temperatures start to fall in October and November, hovering around 20°F to 30°F near the coast or the southernmost parts of the country. In the north, temperatures will be much colder, usually dropping below -40°F.
Winters tend to be chilly across the country. The temperatures are at their lowest in December or January, although don’t be surprised if things are still freezing until March or April! Of course, you can expect the weather to be much more extreme the closer you head towards the arctic.
When Does it Snow in Canada?
As you might expect, Canada gets the most snow during the winter. But compared to other countries, snowfall starts much earlier and lasts far into spring (depending on the region).
Generally speaking, the snow season in Canada starts around November or December. Mountainous regions or territories near the North Pole will likely see snow earlier than areas along the coast or close to the American border.
In some places, you will still see snow long after spring has arrived. It’s not uncommon for snow to last until late March or early April. Therefore, some territories only have five or six months of non-snowy days!
Where Does it Snow in Canada?
As one of the largest countries in the world, it’s important to consider the different regions when talking about Canadian weather. Snowfall largely depends on numerous factors, including the elevation, proximity to the coast, and distance from the arctic.
British Columbia has the mildest temperatures out of any territory in Canada. The moderate year-round climate means the seasons won’t be too drastic like they are on the east coast. For this reason, you can be living in Vancouver or Victoria
and never see a flake of snow during the winter.
However, the mountains in British Columbia see the largest amount of snowfall in the country. For this reason, the area is home to some of the most famous and most popular ski resorts in all of North America.
Despite having one of the warmest cities in Canada (Toronto), Ontario still sees a hefty amount of snow each year. It usually gets 79 inches, which is a little below the national average of 94 inches.
Toronto’s winters are short but cold. Although there aren’t too many snowstorms during this time, you can expect at least a sheet of snow on the ground for most of the season.
Quebec, near the northeastern part of the US, is also known for its cold, snowy winters. In fact, Quebec City has snow on the ground for almost half of the year! And it lasts for a long time, generally starting in early to mid-December and remaining until the end of April before melting.
But that doesn’t compare to another Quebec town – Saguenay. This is Canada’s snowiest city. Not only does it snow for 96 days of the year, but the snowfall can pile up to more than 11 feet in height! In addition to Saguenay, St. John’s in Newfoundland also competes for the spot of Canada’s snowiest city. It has approximately 84 days of snowfall and 10.5 feet of snowfall a year.
When it comes to Canada’s snowiest and coldest territory, Nunavut easily makes the top of the list. Not only is it the largest and most northern territory in the county, but it also happens to have the coldest average temperature too.
Temperatures here are far below freezing all year, usually clocking in at −3.5 °F. But in winter, this can sometimes reach -60°F!
Does Canada Get Blizzards?
Blizzards are uncommon in Canada, although they have happened in the past. The biggest blizzard to ever hit the country occurred in 1999 in Tahtsa Lake in British Columbia. In one day, a staggering 57 inches was recorded to have fallen.
According to the Canadian Red Cross, winter storms and blizzards can happen in any part of the country, with the most significant risk of storms occurring between November and April.
When is the Ski Season in Canada?
With such a long snow season, it’s easy to see why Canada is one of the best places in the world for winter sports. There are numerous ski resorts dotted around the country where you can spend your days gliding down the powdery slopes of the mountains.
Despite having a mild climate throughout the year, British Columbia is home to the largest ski resort in North America – Whistler Blackcomb. Between the two mountains, there are over 200 runs, the longest two being the 11-mile Peak to Creak or Green Road. The resort gets around 35.5-feet of snow a year (in the summer, the slopes are converted into mountain bike trails).
Other ski resorts in British Columbia include Big White, Sun Peaks, Revelstoke, and SilverStar.
In Alberta, Banff is arguably the most famous place to go skiing. You can find three main resorts in the Rocky Mountains, including Banff Sunshine, Norquay, and the icon Lake Louise. The latte boasts over 4,200 acres of slopes for skiers, snowboarders, and sledders.
It doesn’t get as much snow as Whistler (only 15 feet each year), but it’s a great option for visitors traveling to Alberta.
If you’re in Eastern Canada, you also have several resorts to choose from. Blue Mountain is just a two-hour drive from Toronto, while Mont-Tremblant is located 80 miles east of Montreal.
To sum things up – yes, Canada does get a lot of snow. And while some areas are snowier than others, it doesn’t always snow throughout the year! You can still visit and enjoy exploring one of the most beautiful countries on earth!