Canada’s official measurement is metric, however many people (especially those 40 and over) will still use the imperial system for many things. One of the most common holdovers from the imperial system is the use of feet and inches for measurement of distances and heights, and you will still hear older Canadians use the term ‘mile’ when referring to informal distances, and may also give temperatures in fahrenheit. All weather forcasts will be in °C.
Trying to distill the climate of Canada into an easy-to-understand statement is impossible, given the vast area that this country occupies. Much of southern Ontario has a climate similar to the northeastern United States. On the other hand, Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, is just south of the Arctic Circle and remains very cold for most of the year.
However, as most of the Canadian population resides within a few hundred kilometers of Canada’s border with the United States (Edmonton and Calgary being the only major cities that aren’t), visitors to most cities will most likely not have to endure the weather that accompanies a trip to the northern territories. In fact, summers can be hot in parts of Canada. Summer temperatures over 35°C (95°F) are not unusual in extreme Southern Ontario and the southern Interior of British Columbia, with Osoyoos being the hot spot of Canada. Toronto’s climate is only slightly cooler than many cities in the northeastern United States, and summers in the southern parts of Ontario and Quebec are often hot and humid. In the BC (British Columbian) Interior, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the humidity is often low during the summer, even during hot weather. In the winter, Southern Ontario is only slightly cooler than the northeastern United States, but temperatures under -20°C (14°F) are not uncommon.
The climate in Canada also depends on how close to the coast you travel. Many inland cities, especially those in the Prairies, experience extreme changes in weather. Winnipeg, Manitoba (also colloquially known as ‘Winterpeg’) has hot summers that can easily exceed 35°C (95°F), yet experiences very cold winters where temperatures around -40°C (-40°F) are not uncommon. The hottest temperature in Canadian ever recorded was in southern Saskatchewan, at 45°C (113°F). Conversely, southern coastal cities in British Columbia are generally milder year-round and get little snow. The Atlantic Provinces are usually not as mild as the Prairies and the Territories although they constantly experience temperatures below zero in the winter. The Atlantic Provinces are also well known to experience many blizzards during the winter season. In British Columbia, Vancouver and Victoria are temperate and get very little snow, and seldom experience temperatures below 0°C or above 27°C (32-80°F).
Apart from having usually milder temperatures year-round than the interior areas of Canada, coastal areas can have very high rainfall. Areas such as coastal British Columbia get some of the highest rainfall in Canada, but it can be very dry in the southern BC Interior due to the Coastal Mountains acting as a rain shadow. It is also popular with the highest tourists. The wind can be a big factor on the Canadian Prairies because there are wide open areas not unlike those in the Midwest states of the US, and makes for unpleasant windchills during cold weather in the winter. The average temperature is typically colder in Canada than in the US and Western Europe as a whole, so bring your jacket if visiting between October and May, and early and later than this if visiting areas further north. The rest of the year, in most of the country, daytime highs are generally above 15°C (60°F).