In Canada, there are four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. The weather varies across Canada. While northern areas and areas far from large bodies of water can be very cold in winter, some regions – particularly the southern coastal regions have milder weather.
Most Canadians live in the southern parts of the country within 250 kms of the United States border including areas such as the Durham Region. Here is a general idea of what you can expect if you settle in one of these areas:
Spring – March to May
This is the season when winter snow begins to melt. There is often a lot of rain during this period as the days become warmer and longer and the nights remain cool. Plants begin to grow in spring. Trees remain bare until April or May. You will need a warm coat and possibly a hat, mittens and boots during this season. An umbrella is also useful.
Summer – June to August / September
Daytime temperatures are usually above 20 degrees Celsius and can reach 30 degrees Celsius or higher during July as the weather becomes hotter. Areas like Durham Region near the Great Lakes in Ontario experience humid air and thunderstorms. Most areas experience mosquitoes in late spring or early summer. Make sure you arrive with clothing for warm weather but also have a coat or sweater on hand for cooler days. Light fabrics work best in the summer including short sleeves and short pants presuming your culture permits. It's wise to wear a hat and apply sunscreen to exposed skin to prevent sunburn.
Fall – September to November
In the fall, typically the shortest of the seasons, days become noticeably shorter and the first frosts appear. Leaves in many parts of the country turn from green to red, yellow and brown before they fall from the trees. The weather during autumn can be rainy or dry; this is an unpredictable time of year. You can expect the first snows in November but sometimes they come earlier. You will need a coat, mittens, hat and boots as the end of fall arrives.
Winter – December to February or later
Winter is the longest season of the year. You must dress warmly to protect yourself from the cold when you are outside in winter. You will need a warm coat, mittens, hat and boots most days. Since you lose 90 per cent of your body heat through your head, a properly fitted hat is essential.
You could see snow as early as October and as late as April in some areas, with daytime temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius from December to mid-March and very cold nights. Winds can make temperatures feel even colder. This is known as the wind-chill factor. The east and west coasts have milder winters with warmer temperatures and rainy weather.
Dress well and enjoy the outdoors!
Winter weather is nothing to worry about and something that can be a lot of fun as long as you dress well for the outdoors.
Make sure everyone in your family has a warm hat that covers the ears, warm mittens and boots and a warm, thick coat that buttons or zips closed in the front. Boots with rubber soles are a good idea because they will keep you from slipping on ice and snow.
You should also layer your clothing. For example, you might decide to wear long underwear – also called long johns or t-shirts and sweaters underneath your outer clothing. This keeps you warmer than if you wear one thick layer.
You can enjoy many winter sports such as skating, skiing, sledding or building snowmen. It's a good idea to listen to the radio, television or read a newspaper before you go outside to make sure you know the temperature and weather forecast.
In very cold weather – temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius, do not leave any skin uncovered. Exposing skin in freezing temperatures could cause frostbite.
In the winter, snow and ice can affect road conditions and it can be dangerous to drive. If you are driving, it is important for you to find out what the weather will be along your route.
Highways are frequently closed in the winter due to poor visibility caused by blowing snow. Another danger for winter drivers is “black ice” – a thin coating of ice on the road that is very difficult to see.
Many drivers put winter tires on their cars. These tires provide better performance in snowy and icy conditions and make winter driving safer. You can assemble an emergency car kit. It includes items like extra clothing, blanket, first aid kit, salt or sand and more.
For more weather information
If you haven't already purchased a winter coat before arriving - you may want to wait until you are here before doing so as you will find a large selection of low-temperature coats at reasonable prices at many of the local stores - especially if you can take advantage of the many sales throughout the season.