Climate is a hugely important factor to consider as the right weather can make or break your RV holiday, whether it your trip is for three weeks, three months or three years! Luckily, Canada's climate makes it possible to enjoy fantastic weather year round if you go to the right places at the right time – although of course Mother Nature is far from predictable, so you should be prepared for any eventuality, particularly if you're planning to take your RV through regions with extreme climates, or to remote areas.
If you want to take full advantage of the outdoors in your RV, the best time to visit Canada is in the summer. However if you want to experience everything Canada has to offer, visit in the winter. Temperatures range from plus 40 C in summer to minus 40 C in the winter, so dress accordingly!
The climate in Canada varies across the country, and according to the season. There are four distinct seasons in all regions (even Northern Canada) but temperatures and humidity vary.
- The greatest range of temperatures is found in the mountains and plains. Mountain temperatures average from -16°C in the winter to 24°C during the summer. However, when visiting the Rockies, make sure you have layers of comfortable clothing available in case of a sudden change in weather conditions (in the mountains, even summer evenings can turn cool very quickly).
- If you’re planning a lot of outdoor activities, bring robust shoes and a warm jacket. If you plan to visit the Rockies in the winter, come dressed for snow – and make sure your outer clothing is both wind and water repellent.
- In winter, temperatures do fall below freezing point throughout most of Canada. The south-western coast has a relatively mild climate, but along the Arctic Circle in Northern Canada, average temperatures are below freezing for seven months of the year.
- During summer, the southern provinces often experience high levels of humidity and temperatures that can often exceed 30 degrees Celsius.
- The Maritime provinces (Ontario and Québec) are more humid than the western regions. Temperatures in Nova Scotia range from 0 °C in January to around 24 °C in July – bring a sweater for winter and a light raincoat for the summer. Québec and Ontario are usually a little colder in the winter and slightly warmer in the summer than Nova Scotia.
- Vancouver and Victoria hardly ever see temperatures below freezing. British Columbia enjoys the warmest weather in the country, averaging 5°C in the winter and 23°C during the summer. However, an umbrella and raincoat are recommended for Vancouver year-round as it tends to be rainy.
- Western and south-eastern Canada experience high rainfall, but the Prairies are dry with 250 mm to 500 mm of rain every year.
Summer thunderstorms are common throughout Canada and can sometimes become severe. Tornados also occur throughout Canada, with May to September being peak months, especially June and July in southern Ontario, Alberta, southeastern Québec, and a band stretching from southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba through to Thunder Bay. Inland British Columbia and western New Brunswick are also high tornado zones. Earth tremors occur sometimes in the western mountains, and forest fires are frequent, in any season, but especially in the grasslands and forests of western Canada.