Canada in November

Old Apr 11th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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Canada in November

First of all, I am English and so I know bugger all about Canada - I guess that's why your here to help me (please). I am thinking of visiting Canada in November, flying into Edmonton, travelling through Jasper, nipping down to Banff and then on to Vancouver, spending 3 days at each location (1 at Banff). I'm not into skiing (well my other half isn't) but would enjoy the scenery and the wildlife. My question is this - is November a good time to travel, or should I go in the summer? Will there be things to see and do in, say, Vancouver or will things generally be closed at that time of year? I know that it'll be wet but I don't mind a bit of rain (I am English after all). So what do you say - go for it or go for the summer months? Any shared experiences or advice would be gratefully recieved. Thanks.
gubbins is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2005, 03:35 PM
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I think you will find, no matter where in Canada that you go, that November is the dreariest time of all. If you can, save your visit for the summer or early autumn (September to mid-October).
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 03:52 PM
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Just curious - what is your method of travel? I guess you plan to hire a car.

One advantage of travelling in November is of course that you will have fewer fellow-travellers to contend with wherever you go.

I live in Vancouver and have to say that yes, it is wet here in November. But I don't think that's a reason for not coming (and you seem to agree with that). Personally I always prefer to travel (no matter where) in autumn or winter, just because I don't like crowds or hot weather. If you're the same, then by all means come here in November, though be aware that driving across the Rockies and other mountain ranges between Banff and Vancouver can be far from fun in November. What falls as rain in Vancouver becomes snow just a few miles inland. Also, daylight hours are of course far shorter in November than in the summer. Driving across the Rockies in snow and darkness is unpleasant.

I'm not sure what sort of wildlife would be on view in November.

What sort of things do you plan to see in Vancouver? Then we can give you a better idea of whether those things will be closed in November. In my view Vancouver is worth visiting any time of year.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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I live in Ontario but my instinct is that there could be nasty weather in the mountains in November, and I don't mean rain. Winter driving conditions have the potential to be deadly so be cautious about setting out in bad weather. It could be lovely scenery if it has snowed and the roads are clear. It will not be busy. Earlier in autumn would be my preference for the mountains.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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November in the Rocky Mountains can be dry but chilly, OR it can be very very cold and snowy. Last year there wasn't much snow in mid-November, it was sunny and the temps were around freezing (0C), but the year before at approximately the same time there was low cloud cover (couldn't see the mountain peaks), the temps were hovering down around minus 27C and there were piles of snow everywhere.

So basically it could be at any one of those two extremes, or somewhere in-between. In November many of the attractions are closed ("off season", too late for summer and too early for skiing), but on the other hand the rates in hotels are great. Which is why we travel to the Rockies at that time - we love to sit in a cabin with a wood-burning fireplace sipping mulled wine and just plain relaxing !!

Unless you are used to driving in winter conditions, I would not recommend visiting in November. The Icefield Parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise could be closed due to bad weather (snow, blizzard). And the Coquihalla Highway between Kamloops and Vancouver is usually snowy at the summits, but added to that the snow is sloppy and wet, and it comes with fog - very treacherous conditions.
It's much easier driving in the summer, but then you have to contend with hordes of tourists (and much higher accommodation rates). I think that the ideal time is early October - weather is still fairly nice, the roads won't be crowded and will be in excellent condition, you'll catch some of the autumn colours, and if you spend a bit of time in Kelowna (halfway between the Rocky Mountains and Vancouver), in the Okanagan, you'll be there for the fall wine festival.
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Old Apr 11th, 2005, 04:57 PM
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I'd change your plan, unless you have a really good reason to go to Edmonton.

Fly to Calgary, drive to Banff, Lake Louise, and continue through the mountains to Vancouver.

You'll see lots of mountians, skip and long and boring driove from Edmonbto to the mountains (a lot farther than from Calgary to the mountains becaause the mountains run north on an angle)

Banff will have stores and hotels open. Roads may be snowy and icy or just fine through themountains.

Vancouver will be rainy, but regardless, it's a great city, and besides, the rain my stop from time to time. In the time you save skipping Edmonton and Edmonton-Jasper, you can sepnd two days driving to and from Vancouver Island.

If you could make your trip in the summer, it would be nicer; on the other hand, coming in November is better than not getting to Canada at all. I've been inLondon in November; I'd rather be there in the summer, but November was still fine. Same as western Canada.
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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the replies above have pretty much covered all the positives and negatives. if budget is a concern, late ocotober or november will be significantly cheaper then the summer months. if you can switch at all, september or october would be my preference over november.
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Old Apr 12th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Many thanks for all the replies and excellent advice. As I'd suspected, it seems that November is not the best time to visit. It's not about budget so I shall look elsewhere for my November holiday and will definately be visiting Canada next Summer. Can't wait!
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