Visiting from Oz, what time of year?

Mar 25th, 2004, 07:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 114
Visiting from Oz, what time of year?


My partner and I are planning a month's vacation to Canada next year (2005). We are interested in spending one week of our time doing some skiing, but for the rest of the time would like to have a little sunshine.

Can anyone advise the best time of year to visit and any reccomendations on must see places.

I know this post is very general, I will be sure to search through all the old posts on the site soon.


Lesa is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 03:43 AM
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Hello Lesa,

>>>>>>but for the rest of the time would like to have a little sunshine<<<<<<

You can get plenty of sunshine in Calgary and Edmonton in January and February, but the temperature may be -25 deg C. But I don't imagine that's the kind of sunshine you have in mind. I'm guessing you're looking for something warmer than that.

The way I see it, it's not that easy to combine a week's skiing with 3 weeks' warm, sunny weather in Canada.

If you want good skiing, you'd probably aim for the period from December through April. March / April may be your best bet, in that skiing conditions most likely will be good, but Vancouver and Vancouver-island will have spring weather, with spring flowers in bloom.

Southern Ontario may not be too bad in April. Toronto's average high temperature for April is 11 deg C, and its average low for April is 1 deg C.

Much of the rest of Canada is still pretty cool in April. Weather usually is rather unstable in spring. It can be lovely and warm for a few days, and then it can get cold again.

We're still in March, but close to the end of the month. The day before yesterday it was something like 9 deg C in Edmonton. That night an Arctic front moved in, and it plunged down to -15 deg C, or so I heard on the radio. This sort of thing happens in April too.

In 2003 Calgary got a BIG dump of snow late in April, something like April 27th if I remember correctly. We in Calgary typically get some warm weather in April and then a late snowfall (or two or three) during that month and sometimes even in May.

The prime time for touring through Canada and getting warm weather is from June through September. In July and August there are fun summer festivals in various cities. Southern Ontario can get really hot at the height of summer, though.

June and September tend to be very pleasant, warm but not hot. June and September also are good from the point of view that kids are in school, so it's not prime family vacation time, and there is not as much pressure on accommodations as there is in July and August.

If you were willing to combine March / April skiing in Canada with some travels in a warmer part of the U.S., somewhere like California, I think that might be ideal.

Well that's my opinion, at least. Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Actually Judy, our temperature (in Edmonton) got up to 14C (57F) the day before yesterday, and then plunged to almost -16C (3F) overnight, a difference of 30 degrees Celsius in a matter of hours. It was a shock going out in the morning after wearing a light spring jacket the day before. Oh well, that's par for the course for spring in Alberta, isn't it? By Sunday it is expected to be (relatively) balmy again.

Lesa - you can still go skiing at Whistler in May, and then for warm & sunny days travel to the Okanagan (south-central interior of BC, where the vineyards and orchards are), so May may be your best bet .
Borealis is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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Lesa, Borealis has a really good point about your being able to ski in Whistler in May.

Some more thoughts about Canada. As I'm sure you know, it's big. That means that, even with a month, you won't be able to see it all. You'll need to land somewhere in Canada, drive around and explore the local area, fly to another Canadian destination, repeat the exercise, and so on.

If I was to feel I had seen Canada's highlights, I would want to have seen 3 main areas:

* the west

* the centre

* the east

By the west I mean Vancouver, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan Valley and the Canadian Rockies (to which I would want to devote a couple of weeks).

By the centre (what many Albertans refer to as "The East") I mean Ontario and Quebec. In my opinion, it would take a couple of weeks to do justice to Niagara Falls, Toronto, Algonquin Park, Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal.

Next, I believe it would take a couple of weeks to see some of Canada's Maritime Provinces, i.e., our east coast. I've never been there myself, but I've heard it's lovely. Several sets of friends have done the Cabot Trail, for example, and have enjoyed it very much. I'm interested to see Lans aux Meadows in Newfoundland, where they've excavated evidence of Viking habitation 500 years before Columbus landed in the Americas. Hokey as this may sound, I was an Anne of Green Gables fan when I was a kid, and would love to see Prince Edward Island. Etc., etc., etc.

I'm told that more northerly parts of Canada, like Dawson Creek for instance, are great too. I know several people who have canoed or kayaked down the Yukon River, and have reported having a grand time. (But let me add they did that in the summer.) That would require additional time, of course.

My point is that, to get even a basic introduction to the western, central and eastern parts of Canada would require six weeks, IMO. There also is the issue that, because of climatic variations and because of the activities the visitor may prefer, the best time to see one part of Canada isn't the best time to see another part of Canada.

For the above mentioned reasons, I wouldn't think in terms of visiting Canada as a country. I would think in terms of visiting regions of North America. One trip could be devoted to the western U.S. and western Canada (and that easily could use up a month). Similarly, the New England states of the U.S. combined with the Maritime provinces of Canada would make for a good trip. When it comes to Ontario and Quebec, they could be combined with a visit to Upstate New York, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., for example.

The above would take three trips, each lasting a month or so, which may or may not be realistic for you to accomplish over a few years.

To put my opinions into context, let me admit I am quite a slow traveller. I subscribe to a "less is more" philosophy. So I would rather see less of a country, but see it more thoroughly.

If you don't want to see North America in separate, regional chunks, as I've suggested, and if you really do want to devote a month to Canada, you'll have to make some choices based on what you like to see and do (cities versus rural and wilderness areas, etc.).

Hope this helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 09:32 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 114
Thankyou all for your very detailed posts, will sit down and have a look at our time available and where we would best like to go.

Thanks again, I am sure to keep in touch.

Lesa is offline  
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