Think of Canada and you’ll probably imagine huge swathes of snow-covered mountains, epic ski resorts, and the 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 hot 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!
With the continuing rise in temperatures due to global warming, the warmest places in Canada are only likely to get even hotter. Recent heatwaves in Canada saw temperatures sky-rocket to new highs that saw parts of the country briefly become some of the hottest places on Earth. 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 with a population of only 250 became worldwide news. Around a three-hour drive from Vancouver, Lytton has long been one of the warmest places in Canada, with summer temperatures known to reach as high as 35 °C. Yet during a heatwave in June 2021 temperatures in Lytton soared to a staggering 49.6 °C. The extreme temperature in Lytton smashed all previous records and became the highest ever recorded in Canada. For context, the temperature recorded in Lytton was hotter than the highest temperatures ever recorded in Miami or Las Vegas and even hotter than the all-time highest temperatures ever recorded in Europe and South America.
Sadly such abnormally high temperatures came with a terrible cost, with many people in the area losing their lives due to the extreme heat. The heat, combined with dry and windy conditions, also caused several wildfires that have burned through Lytton and the surrounding areas. The wildfires have destroyed much of Lytton with many residents having to flee the town at short notice. Scientists are still to determine whether the unprecedented temperatures in Lytton are related to climate change, but 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 to the northeast of Lytton is the city of Kamloops, home to around 100,00 people. Kamloops can put forward a pretty strong claim to being the warmest place in Canada, being the city with the hottest average high temperature in the country. The average temperature for July in Kamloops is just under 29 °C, and the city is known to have a desert climate. 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. The city saw maximum temperatures rise to a record 47.3 °C in June. 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 the average temperature in Kamloops 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 is the city of Windsor which sits right on the border with the United States. Almost literally a stone’s throw from neighboring Detroit, Windsor has the second highest average summer temperatures in Canada behind Kamloops, with the mean temperatures calculated at 28.1 °C. Windsor’s average low temperature during the summer is also the highest of all of Canada’s cities. The coldest it gets in July in Windsor averages out at just under 18 °C. Like 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 combines the temperature with the humidity levels to give a total estimated feel of the heat. The highest temperature ever recorded in Windsor came in 1953 when the city sweltered under 37 °C heat. Combined with the humidity the city’s humidex reading reached a pretty unbearable 52.1 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 that can back that up. Nowhere in Canada has more days over 20 °C or more days over 30 °C a year than Osoyoos. Typically Osoyoos enjoys around 35 days a year where the temperature tops 30 °C. The town’s average daytime temperature of 17 °C is the warmest in Canada too. A small town of around 5,000 people, Osoyoos is just a couple of miles north of Canada’s border with the United States, near the state of Washington. Osoyoos’ warm climate makes it a popular tourist spot during the summer where high temperatures, low humidity, and cool nights make for an ideal climate for sunseekers.
As with Lytton and Kamloops, Osoyoos was also 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. Like much of Canada, the weather in Osoyoos can be incredibly contradictory at different times of the year. Winters here are cold if not exceptionally so by Canadian standards, with temperatures usually around -2 °C to -3 °C in January and February. Yet the lowest ever recorded temperature in Osoyoos was a very chilly -26 °C.
Medicine Hat, Alberta
The bafflingly-named city of Medicine Hat in Alberta has the nickname ‘the sunniest city in Canada’ thanks to its hot summers and low rainfall. 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. The summers in Medicine Hat are dry, and the evenings and nights are cool, helping to balance out the heat of the day.
Medicine Hat’s highest temperatures typically arrive between late May and early September where they usually reach the high 20s °C. However, anybody around in Medicine Hat during a 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 the list of the warmest places in Canada. Home to just shy of 3 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, though the city’s location on Lake Ontario can help to keep things cool during the summer evenings. Toronto’s temperature’s peak between June and August when it’s not uncommon for the city to hit highs over 30°C, and even with the cooling breezes coming off the lake, the humidity can push the real feel even higher.
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/h, 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.
From Toronto head north up route 401 and then take a left onto route 416 and in about five hours time you’ll be in Ottawa, Canada’s beautiful capital city. Like Toronto, the final stop of our tour of the warmest places in Canada is also located in the province of Ontario. The two cities share a similar climate, and Ottawa also enjoys very 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 the summer, with the humidex readings pushing up the real feel by an extra few degrees celsius.
Ottawa’s record high temperature of 37.8 °C is relatively low compared to some in 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. Outside of summer, it’s not unusual for temperatures to soar too, with very hot days of over 30 °C having been recorded as early as April and as late as October in some years.
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.
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, whilst in the winter 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 the Victoria is the city that sees the least snow. This can be explained by the average winter temperatures which usually hover around 3-4 °C. Any snow that does settle in Victoria usually only lasts for a few days before melting.