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Colourful Victoria | © Hayley Simpson
Colourful Victoria | © Hayley Simpson
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Where to Visit and When: The Canada Travel Guide for Every Month of the Year

Picture of Hayley Simpson
Writer
Updated: 11 October 2017
Although Canada’s peak tourist season is during the summer holidays from June to August, this isn’t the only great time to visit the country. There’s something to entice visitors to different regions every month of the year, which is evident in this ultimate guide. Discover where in Canada you should visit and when.

Where to go in January

January is undeniably a cold month to visit Canada. But the pros for visiting the nation in January include discounted travel, and the opportunity to visit some of the world’s premier ski resorts.

Quebec City

Quebec City is positively charming blanketed in snow in January. Walk along Old Quebec’s cobblestone streets, spend the night at the castle-like Château Frontenac, and warm up with a hot chocolate or coffee from one of the city’s many cafés. Another reason to visit Quebec City in January is the Winter Carnival, which begins at the end of January and lasts for 17 days.

Quebec City, QC, Canada

Mont-Tremblant

Mont-Tremblant is one of Canada’s most famous ski resorts. Located in Quebec also, make the most of post-holiday deals and visit Mont-Tremblant for an unforgettable winter adventure. The ski town isn’t just for skiers, and it is well-known for its plethora of excellent après-ski spots.

Mont-Tremblant, QC, Canada

Beautiful Château Frontenac
Beautiful Château Frontenac | © Hayley Simpson

Where to go in February

February is still a cold time in the Great White North. But if you decide to embrace the cool, you will be rewarded with excellent winter activities and festivals.

Winnipeg

Winnipeg’s biggest drawcard in February is Festival du Voyageur, the largest winter festival in Western Canada. While in Winnipeg, head indoors and visit the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, and then go outside and skate along the world’s longest naturally frozen skating trail on the Red and Assiniboine rivers.

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Charlottetown

Located on Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown is a great winter destination in Canada. Be adventurous and go ice skating, cross country skiing, or do a yoga class… outside! Check out the Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest and WinterDine too, which is a dining festival.

Charlottetown, PE, Canada

Winnipeg
Winnipeg | © Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock

Where to go in March

March equals two things in Canada: St Patrick’s Day and spring skiing. Check out these two destinations for a fun March in Canada.

Toronto

Toronto is one of the best places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Canada. Guinness SPD organises one of Canada’s largest St Patrick’s celebrations, on Toronto’s waterfront. The city also hosts a St Patrick’s Parade, and there’s usually an after party at a Toronto bar.

Toronto, ON, Canada

Whistler

Whistler Blackcomb has North America’s longest ski season. Blackcomb Mountain actually remains open until mid-May, so why not enjoy some spring skiing at North America’s biggest ski resort? Historically, March is when Whistler receives its highest snowfall too (2.4 metres or 7.9 feet). Like its Quebec counterpart in Mont Tremblant, Whistler also has a strong après-ski scene.

Whistler, BC, Canada

Snowboarding in Whistler
Snowboarding in Whistler | © Camp of Champions / Flickr

Where to go in April

Things start to slightly warm up in some parts of the country around April. This month is great for wildlife and family fun.

Victoria

British Columbia’s capital city has one of the more milder climates in Canada. Make the most of the thawing weather and visit this historically beautiful city in April, which just happens to be the beginning of whale watching season on Vancouver Island, too.

Victoria, BC, Canada

Muskoka

Discover Muskoka calls the Muskoka Maple Trail, “the most Canadian adventure of all time.” April is prime maple syrup season in Ontario, so follow the trail and discover over 30 of the Muskoka region’s best maple syrup experiences.

Muskoka, ON, Canada

Colourful buildings in Victoria
Colourful buildings in Victoria | © Hayley Simpson

Where to go in May

Canada’s provinces are in full bloom in May. It’s a good time to visit, before the summer crowds descend.

Ottawa

Ottawa is the home of the multi award-winning Canadian Tulip Festival, which happens annually in May. Spend a weekend enjoying the flowers, walking beside the Rideau Canal, and checking out some of the city’s best kept secrets.

Ottawa, ON, Canada

Okanagan

The Okanagan Valley is a very popular tourist destination in British Columbia. Visit in May before the crowds settle in for the summer. Enjoy the region’s many wineries, and ensure you have time to explore Kelowna.

Okanagan, BC, Canada

Full bloom at Ottawa’s Tulip Festival
Full bloom at Ottawa’s Tulip Festival | © Michael Nugent / Flickr

Where to go in June

Summer has arrived in Canada, which means long sunny days, summer festivals, and adventures galore.

Montreal

Most locals will tell you that the best time to visit Montreal is in summer. If you need motivation, here are some of the fun events that happen annually in June: Montreal Beer Festival, Piknik Electronik every Sunday, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, Montreal Fringe Festival, and Les Francofolies (the world’s largest French music festival).

Montreal, QC, Canada

Nunavut

Summer is also the perfect time to head north and visit Nunavut. Experience the midnight sun, hike the Arctic Circle in Auyuittuq National Park, attend the Alianait Festival, go bird watching, and visit Iqaluit, the colourful and cultural capital city.

Nunavut, Canada

Montreal Summer Skyline | © FOTOimage Montreal/Shutterstock
Montreal Summer Skyline | © FOTOimage Montreal / Shutterstock

Where to go in July

There really isn’t anywhere you shouldn’t visit in Canada during July, but these two cities are our top picks.

Calgary

Calgary hosts the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth every July. The Calgary Stampede takes over the city, with exhibitions, parades, agricultural competitions, concerts, carnival rides, games, and of course rodeo competitions.

Calgary, AB, Canada

St John’s

Why not explore Newfoundland and Labrador in July? In St John’s, the weather is perfect, there are many local festivals, and George Street is as lively as ever.

St John’s, NL, Canada

Calgary Stampede action
Calgary Stampede action | © David Minty / Flickr

Where to go in August

The summer weather and events just keep getting better in August.

Vancouver

Summer in Vancouver is special. There are weekly festivals and markets, with Richmond Night Market being one of the most popular. Plus everyone is outdoors: hiking, exploring Grouse Mountain, relaxing at the beach, or riding their bike to a brewery or sun soaked patio.

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Canadian Rockies

Although Banff and Jasper National Parks are usually bustling with tourists in August, summer is the best time to visit the Canadian Rockies if you want to go hiking. Visiting in summer also means thawed turquoise lakes and optimal driving conditions on the Icefields Parkway.

Canadian Rockies, Canada

Summer sunset from North Vancouver
Summer sunset from North Vancouver | © Hayley Simpson

Where to go in September

Known as “shoulder season,” September is a good time to visit as the crowds have left, but the weather is still pleasant, and the leaves are starting to change colour and fall.

Mont Sutton

Located in Quebec, Mont Sutton has one of the best fall festivals in Canada. It goes for five weekends in September and October, and includes chair rides up the mountain, kids’ activities, and free concerts.

Mont Sutton, Sutton, QC, Canada

Cape Breton Island

Take a road trip along the award-winning Cabot Trail, which twists and turns its way along the island’s coastlines. It’s known for looking the best in fall. While on Cape Breton Island, play a round of golf, go hiking, and visit its many artisan communities.

Cape Breton Island, NS, Canada

Ascending Mont Sutton
Ascending Mont Sutton | © Baker Jarvis / Shutterstock

Where to go in October

It might be getting cooler in October, but the adventures are getting better!

Churchill

October is the best month to visit Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world. Witness the polar bears heading to their winter home in Hudson Bay.

Churchill, MB, Canada

Kitchener-Waterloo

These twin cities in Ontario host the world’s second largest Oktoberfest, which attracts an average of 700,000 people annually. The festival coincides with Canadian Thanksgiving, which is celebrated with Canada’s only Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, Canada

Churchill Polar Bear
Churchill Polar Bear | © Joe Brockmeier / Flickr

Where to go in November

Bundle up, because November means Northern Lights in Canada.

Yellowknife

Beginning in mid-November, Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights.

Yellowknife, NT, Canada

Tofino

Located on Vancouver Island, Tofino is a storm watcher’s paradise in November (and winter in general). Book a stay at the Wickaninnish Inn, and watch the storm roll in from the comfort of your room, or outside on the shoreline.

Tofino, BC, Canada

Yellowknife Northern Lights action
Yellowknife Northern Lights action | © Phung Chung Chyang / Shutterstock

Where to go in December

The holidays are magical in Canada, which truly becomes a white winter wonderland.

Niagara Falls

Over the holidays, the waterfalls at Niagara Falls are illuminated thanks to the Winter Festival of Lights. There are also two Santa Claus parades and fireworks, for a magical festive experience.

Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

Edmonton

Christmas time in Edmonton means Candy Cane Lane, a light display that stretches for eight blocks, which the residents have been organising for 40 years. There are also horse-drawn sleigh rides, Christmas Reflections in Fort Edmonton Park, and the Festival of Trees.

Edmonton, AB, Canada