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When to go to Canada depends a lot on what you plan to do when you get there. Although much of Canada lies above the 49th parallel, and therefore has long and often intense winter weather, this isn't particularly a negative if you are going to Canada to ski or snowboard. Although some tourist facilities in small centers are closed in winter, most remain open (after all, Canadians live in Canada year-round and require a full network of services).

Summer, from late June to August, brings the finest weather and not surprisingly, the largest influx of travelers. Prices are highest, accommodations are frequently booked up, and crowds fill the national parks. In many ways, the fall months, particularly September and October, are the best time to travel, as the weather is frequently very pleasant, the crowds have dispersed, and accommodation prices are lower than summer. If you are looking for value, spring is another good time to visit Canada.

The Weather

In Canada's southern reaches, where most of the population lives, the weather is similar as that in the northern United States. As you head north, the climate becomes harsher, meaning long and extremely cold winters, and brief but surprisingly warm summers (with lots of insects).

As a general rule, spring runs mid-March to mid-June, summer mid-June to mid-September, fall mid-September to mid-November, and winter mid-November to mid-March. Pick the season best suited to your tastes and temperament, and remember that your vehicle should be winterized November through March and that snow can fall in the mountains at any time of year. September and October bring autumn foliage and great opportunities for photographers.

Evenings tend to be cool everywhere, particularly on or near water. In summer, you'll need a supply of insect repellent if you're planning on outdoor activities such as hiking or camping.

With the huge size of some provinces and territories, you naturally get considerable climate variations inside their borders. Québec, for instance, sprawls all the way from the temperate south to the Arctic, and the weather varies accordingly. For up-to-date weather conditions and forecasts across Canada, check out Environment Canada's weather center online at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.