Think Canada and you probably think huge swathes of snow-covered mountains, epic ski resorts, and polar bears living on the edge of the Arctic Circle. But, whilst this corner of North America is certainly famous for its cold climate, many of its southerly regions also experience pretty hot summers. If you’re looking to visit during the balmier months and want the warmest places in Canada, be sure to read on…
Large parts of Canada are under snow for six months of the year or more, and in some parts all year round. However, the highest temperatures recorded in Canada match those you’d expect to find in countries famous for hotter weather. During the summer months from May to August, temperatures are typically in the mid-20s C, particularly on Canada’s coasts. In some inland areas, the temperatures can even rise as high as 40 °C during heatwaves. Perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising. After all, Montreal is on the same latitude as Venice and Zagreb, while Toronto is on the same latitude as Nice and Florence!
What’s more, as the climate continues to change, the warmest places in Canada are only likely to get even hotter. Recent heat waves in these parts have seen temperatures sky rocket to new records – some places in Canada have even competed with the hottest places on Earth in the last decade! So, from the city with the highest average temperatures to the town with the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the country, here are the places that stand out for spiking thermometer levels in the home of maple syrup and grizzlies.
Lytton, British Columbia
In 2021, the small village of Lytton in British Columbia – population just 250 – became worldwide news. Temperatures here soared to a staggering 49.6 C. That smashed all previous records and became the highest ever recorded in Canada by a long shot. It also outstripped the highest temperatures ever recorded in some of the world’s famous sun traps – Vegas, Miami, the whole of southern Europe!
Sadly, such abnormally high temperatures came with a terrible cost. Many people in the area lost their lives due to the extreme heat. The freak weather also caused several wildfires, which proceeded to burn through Lytton and the surrounding areas.
Scientists are still trying to determine the exact causes of the unprecedented temperatures in Lytton that year, and what part human-caused climate change had to play. What we do know is that the record high of 49.6 C is nearly 25 C hotter than the town’s usual average highest temperature for June!
Kamloops, British Columbia
A couple of hours’ drive to the northeast of Lytton is the city of Kamloops, home to around 100,000 people. Kamloops can put forward a pretty strong claim to being the warmest place in Canada, because it’s the city with the hottest average high temperature in the country. Let’s break it down…
The mean thermometer reading for July in Kamloops is just under 29 C. Kamloops also has more days over 30 C than any other city in Canada, and the summers are known for their bright sunshine and low humidity. From June to August, temperatures commonly range from anywhere between 20 C to 29 C. Much like Lytton, Kamloops was severely affected by the extreme heat that hit the region in June and July 2021. Then, it saw maximum temperatures rise to a record 47.3 C!
Yet, despite being one of the warmest places in Canada during the summer, the winters in Kamloops are often at the other end of the scale. From October onwards, the average temperature drops down to single figures, dipping into negative numbers from December to February. Incredibly, the lowest ever temperature recorded in Kamloops was a bone-chilling -38.3 C in 1950, a swing of over 85 °C from the record highest temperature recorded in 2021
On the opposite side of the country to our first two warmest places in Canada, the city of Windsor sits right on the border with the USA. It’s almost literally a stone’s throw from neighboring Detroit!
Windsor has the second highest average summer temperature in Canada behind Kamloops, with the mean calculated at 28.1 C. Windsor’s average low temperature during the summer is also the highest of all Canadian cities. Yep, the coldest it gets in July in Windsor is just under 18 C taken on average. But, as is the case in many other parts of Canada, the summer and winter temperatures in Windsor are poles apart. Winters here are cold, with temperatures usually dropping to -3 by January.
Windsor’s summers are known for being especially hot and humid. That humidity combined with the high temperatures can often make it feel a lot hotter than the actual given centigrade. Canadian meteorologists use a reading called the humidex index. That joins the temperature with air moisture levels to give a total estimated feel of the heat. Looking at that, you’ll see that the reading has reached a pretty unbearable 52.1 in the past. (Anything above 45 on the humidex scale is considered dangerous and very likely to cause heatstroke!)
Osoyoos, British Columbia
The motto of the town of Osoyoos in British Columbia is “Canada’s warmest welcome”, and there’s a lot of science to back that up. Nowhere in Canada has more days over 20 C, or more days over 30 C, in a year than Osoyoos. Typically, Osoyoos enjoys around 35 days per annum where the temperature tops that 30 mark. Oh, and the town’s average daytime temperature of 17 C is the warmest in Canada, too.
As with Lytton and Kamloops, Osoyoos was severely affected by the heatwave that spread across western Canada in June and July 2021. During the worst of the heatwave in June, temperatures in Osoyoos reached 45 C, well above the typical average high of 26 C. Winters, meanwhile, are cold if not exceptionally so by Canadian standards, with temperatures usually around -2 C to -3 C in January and February, and record lows of around -26 C!
A small, relaxed place of about 5,000 people, Osoyoos is just a couple of miles north of Canada’s border with Washington State in the United States. That’s good news for summertime visitors because it puts you midway between the Rockies and the Coast Ranges, with glistening alpine lakes like Osoyoos Lake and its pebbly swimming coves right on the doorstep.
Medicine Hat, Alberta
The bafflingly-named city of Medicine Hat in Alberta has the nickname “‘the sunniest city in Canada” thanks to a calendar that’s filled with plenty of Vitamin D. The most inland of all of the towns and cities on our list, Medicine Hat sits within Canada’s Prairies region, the largely agricultural landscape that encompasses the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Despite being further inland, Medicine Hat can almost compete with Osoyoos for the number of days in a year where the temperatures are over 20 C and 30 C. What’s more, the summers in Medicine Hat are generally very dry, with less than 1.5 inches of the wet stuff falling from July to September. That said, the evenings and nights here are cool, helping to balance out the balminess of the day.
Anybody around in Medicine Hat during a now-infamous seven- month spell in the late 1800s would have wondered what on earth was happening with the weather. In July 1886 the fledgling town experienced its hottest ever period, when temperatures reached a stifling 42.2 C. Yet just seven months later, during the winter in February 1887, the temperature in Medicine Hat plummeted to -46.1 C, the lowest ever recorded temperature in the city.
The capital of Ontario province, the major city of Toronto, deserves a place on this list of the warmest places in Canada. Home to just shy of three million people, cultured and cosmopolitan Toronto enjoys four very distinct seasons, including hot and humid summers.
Temperatures in summer regularly hit an average of 25 C and rise even higher during more extreme bouts of hot weather. That said, the city’s location on Lake Ontario can help to keep things cool, particularly as the evening sets in. Toronto’s temperatures tend to peak between June and August, when it’s not uncommon for the city to hit highs over 30 C. The humidity can make things feel even warmer, even with the lake waters doing their best to temper it out.
Like most of Canada, the summers in Toronto are fairly short, lasting just a few months before the more familiar colder temperatures return in time for autumn and then winter. Toronto’s summers are also amongst the wettest time of year in the city, thanks largely to the high number of thunderstorms that regularly hit the province of Ontario.
The storms are often combined with incredibly high winds that can reach up to 100 km per hour, during which people are advised to stay indoors. However, outside of the storms, the majority of Toronto’s summers are bright and sunny and you’ll be able to enjoy fabulous views from the city’s most iconic landmark, the CN Tower or the bustle of al fresco cafe life down on vibrant Ossington Avenue.
From Toronto, head north up route 401 and then take a left onto route 416. In about five hours – which isn’t all that long for colossal Canada – you’ll be in Ottawa, the nation’s beautiful capital city. It’s also located in the province of Ontario, which brings similarly warm and humid summers…
The average temperature for summer in Ottawa is a decent 26 C. Temperatures will briefly rise above 30 C every summer, with July and August being the hottest months of the year. The humidity in Ottawa can also add to the temperature during these balmy months, with the humidex readings pushing up the real feel by an extra few degrees celsius at least most days.
Ottawa’s record high temperature of 37.8 C is relatively low compared to other parts of Canada, and the summers here are relatively brief, lasting just a few months before making way for a much milder autumn. However, with over 100 days where temperatures reach over 20 C, Ottawa can rightfully claim to be one of the warmest places in Canada.
Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Canadians will likely balk at the inclusion of Inuvik on this list. Why? Well…just look where the town is. It sits past 68 degrees north within the Arctic Circle, close to where the wild boreal forests of the Northwest Territories give way to the rolling tundra. Let’s put that into perspective: It would take you 43 hours to drive up this way from Vancouver – without any stops, that is.
So, why the mention? It’s all down to the fact that Inuvik has been touted as the hottest spot within the Canadian Arctic. A recent heat wave in early 2022 saw thermometers creep up to almost double the average for the time of year, as Inuvik’s weather stations showed a whopping 27 C in mid-July. That made it officially the hottest place in the country for a few short days, and flabbergasted climate scientists who’d never seen anything quite like it.
The blazing heat here was short lived. Inuvik soon returned to its more common averages of 11–15 C for the rest of the summer. By December, it was once again encased in ice and snow at temperatures below -25 C. No wonder it’s a hub for tundra hiking and snowmobiling!
Woodstock, New Brunswick
The salt-washed eastern seaboard of Canada is rarely mentioned on lists of the hottest places in the home of maple syrup and hockey showdowns. That’s because of the consistent cooling powers of the Atlantic Ocean, which bring regular cold fronts across the islands, bays, and whale-filled seas of the region, both summer and winter.
But special mention can go to Woodstock, New Brunswick, which now reigns as the hottest place on the Atlantic side of the country. Back in 1935, this town of just over 5,550 people was named among the top three hottest places in the whole region. Along with nearby Nepisiguit Falls and the district of Five Rivers, it recorded temperatures at just over 39 C – 39.4 C to be exact.
A sleepy place in a pleasant location on the edge of the St John River and only a few miles’ drive back from the border with Maine in the USA, Woodstock has a certain country charm. Main Street sports historical wood-built churches. There’s an 1830s courthouse to see. And the history is rather interesting – the town is said to have been founded by disbanded veterans of loyalist brigades in the aftermath of the US Revolutionary War.
The warmest places in Canada – our conclusion
Our guide to the warmest places in Canada runs through a whole stack of various spots.
First off, we’ve focused on the town that currently holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country (Lytton, that’s you) and then revealed where has the highest averages throughout the year (Kamloops). We’ve also showcased the places that are warmest on the east coast, in the prairies, and up in the Arctic Circle.
Almost all of them hit their hottest in the peak summer months of June, July, and August, returning to a quintessentially Canadian winter of subzero temps and snow when December and January swing around.
Where is the warmest place in Canada?
The warmest place in Canada is the city of Kamloops, which has the highest average summer temperatures in the country as well as more days over 30 C than anywhere else. That said, the small town of Lytton, BC, currently holds the record high temperature for Canada – thermometers hit nearly 50 C here during a heatwave back in 2021.
Is there anywhere in Canada that is warm year round?
Whilst some parts of Canada are cold all year round, the parts that do enjoy good summers also experience four distinct seasons. These include mild spring and autumn seasons and cold (sometimes incredibly cold) winters.
Which city in Canada has the best weather?
If you define ‘best’ as the city that has consistent weather all year round, then Victoria in British Columbia could be in with a shout. Victoria has decent (if not overly hot) summers and winters that won’t freeze you to the bone. The summer in Victoria is mild, with temperatures usually in the low 20 Cs. From December onwards, temperatures remain in the single figures, which is positively balmy by Canadian standards.
Where in Canada gets the least snow?
Almost everywhere in Canada sees snow at some point but Victoria is the city that sees the least snow. This can be explained by the average winter temperature, which usually hovers around 3-4 C. Any snow that does settle in Victoria usually only lasts for a few days before melting.