You’ve probably heard of Torshavn, in Denmark’s Faroe Islands. It is the cloudiest city in the world, receiving an astounding 840 hours of sunshine every year. While some places receive unbearable sunshine, you will be forgiven for asking, but why? Sunshine world over is associated with visions of beach living and tropical lifestyle. However, the converse of cloud cover presents a unique climate to enjoy the outside without having to cover up too much or dress down. Some individuals may not consider Canada as a top destination to visit during summer.
However, in the cities with high cloud cover, the summers are pleasant, and the winters mild, making them the ideal places to visit when you want to avoid crowded beaches and cliche holiday destinations.
Forget the frigid winters in Canada, as your hearsay would have you believe. Canada’s natural beauty is best experienced first-hand, as you shall see from this review. For those who chose to venture into Canada to experience the moderate climate of the cloud covered cities, you will enjoy everything from beaches, rainforests, water sports, art, and culture—think of anything, and you will probably find it here. So, without belaboring the point, here are the ten Cloudiest Cities in Canada you too can enjoy.
1.Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Prince Rupert may not be the Cloudiest Cities in Canada, but it’s definitely the darkest if the statistics on cloud cover and sunshine time are anything to go by. In fact, it’s easy to describe the weather for the next few days to someone—just say it will be overcast, and chances are you will be right almost all the time. In Prince Rupert, you don’t have to shade during summer because the weather is generally cool and overcast. Don’t get it wrong. It is not miserable. The weather forms part of the character of this town, and those who are used to it have grown to love it for what it is. In fact, some people travel far and wide to come and experience this weather.
Did you know that people with Porphyria are allergic to the sun? In 2010, a South African family struggling with this condition was granted asylum in Prince Rupert to escape the scorching sun in South Africa. The weather here cannot be described as hot, and it’s generally just warm. The warm weather season here lasts from June to September, with average highs in the range of 62°F – 64°F.
There is seasonal variation in cloud cover, but 54% of the time, the city is under cover of clouds. The cloudiest months stretch from September to April, with December being the cloudiest month. With clouds come rainfall, and Prince Rupert, BC receives a whopping 3060mm of rainfall annually. That’s 10 feet of rainfall! All this cloud cover in the city results from the meeting of ocean currents in the Pacific. In fact, the Pacific contributes a huge percentage of the city’s humidity, and the ocean currents just make it easy for clouds to form.
Despite the less-than-ideal weather, Prince Rupert is a city you must visit if you are in Northern British Columbia. There is plenty to enjoy here, from the food, culture, breathtaking sceneries, chill vibes, and a band of interesting activities to take your mind off the weather. Best of all, it is an affordable city. If you are planning a getaway, you could start by enjoying the craft brewery scene. After, you could go whale watching in the bay or go spotting the other huge inland mammals—bears.
All the rain means that you will hardly have to go far for water sports. From sport fishing to kayaking to canoeing, make a point of visiting the local marina to see where you can start your exploration.
As a port town (the deepest natural harbor in N. America), the city is based around cow bay. Explore it to enjoy maritime-themed buildings, a vibrant food scene, and perhaps your best chance to take a floatplane flight.
You will be pleasantly surprised in trying to spot the quirkiest cow references all over town. Hit the trails, visit neighborhoods, etc. but whatever you do, make sure you enjoy this unique city.
Related blog: Best Beer Cities In Canada
Unlike other cities where the fog comes from pollution, Vancouver, British Columbia, is foggy thanks to a natural aspect of the city’s weather. The city has insanely foggy mornings and winters, and it is infamous for being wet. Precipitation is in abundance with a healthy 1200mm annually, with some places in the city experiencing an eye-watering 1600mm. However, this is no match for the 2500mm experienced in areas close to the Strait of Georgia.
The weather of this city is influenced by immense cloud cover that overcasts the city. This comes with many advantages. For example, it is one of the largest cities with mild winters. Heavy snow cover is rare, with typical snowfalls often reaching maximums of 10cm. The summers are also cool as the winters are mild. Maximum temperatures in summer range from 68 °F to 73 °F (20 °C to 23 °C). The overcast is so intense in Vancouver Island that summer temperatures range between 64 °F to 66 °F (18 °C to 19 °C).
Autumn is the wettest period, with most of the rain falling during this time. November happens to be the rainiest month, with sunshine becoming rare from late autumn and through winter. The rain almost never stops during late autumn, and if you are planning a trip, you had better come ready with the appropriate rain gear. Arctic air masses are a rarity, but they may pass through the city once a winter. Arctic air masses in autumn are cold and carry little moisture into Vancouver. They aid cloud formation in Vancouver, and their passage through the city will coincide with the coldest days of the year.
The best time of the year to visit Vancouver comes before mid-September. Most people prefer to visit between July and August because, in addition to the clouds providing shade all through, they are the warmest and driest months of the year. What this nice weather presents is a ton of things to do when you visit Vancouver. The city is endowed with natural splendor everywhere you look. If you are into nature, you will have your share of temperate rainforests, ocean views, snow-capped mountains, and the architecture of Vancouver to marvel at.
Since summers here are not unbearable, life is lived outside when summer comes. Outside cafes line the city streets, and it also has a craft brewery culture like Prince Rupert.
Hiking and riding trails come in plenty thanks to the fact the city is set among hills and the ocean. The beaches are also something of a fable. Notable Beaches include Kitsilano, Second Beach, Jericho, and even the clothing-optional Wreck Beach. Explore the Spanish Banks beach in low tide or visit the seawall at Stanley Park.
The food culture is as diverse as the people who make up the city. The many al fresco restaurants serve food from different cultures, but the menus are predominantly Asian, given the strong Asian core of the city. The food market at Granville Island is usually the first stopover for many tourists but feel free to explore anywhere you want to.
Down some of the best pastries, pickles, dips, gravies, dish cheese, and many more from this city’s food scene. After you have had your fill of food and drinks, you will be happy to know that British Columbia is a big producer of marijuana in North America—this means marijuana is also legal here.
In a typical year, Abbotsford can experience 80 days without direct sunshine. Fall and winter are often raining, overcast, and cold, while summers are warm and pleasant. The warm season begins from June 18 to September 17, with temperatures ranging from 56°F to 78°F. The cold weather season starts on November 14 and stretches to February 21, with daily temperatures ranging from 33°F to 49°F.
Expect cloud cover all through the Year in Abbotsford with seasonal variations depending on wind activity and the temperature. The cloud cover is at its lowest for 3.5 months, starting June 16 to September 30. The clearest days fall in August, with a 71% chance of being clear. However, the 29% probability for the converse is also a reality that may also happen. Because of these clouds, rainfall is also a big part of living in Abbotsford. The highest rainfall in a day can reach 8.9 inches, with the lowest rainfall being 1.0 inches.
Most would consider this as very high rainfall, but somehow, the people of Abbotsford are used to it.
One advantage of being heavily overcast is the fact that winters are relatively mild. As a result of the bulk of the 1563mm of rain falling in winter, snowfall often reaches peaks of one inch but with a liquid equivalent of 0.1 inches. Snowfall is expected from mid-November to mid-march, but the bulk of it is expected from mid-December to mid-January. Without using complex definitions for weather patterns, the climate of Abbotsford is influenced by its proximity to the pacific and the wind and air masses that frequent the area.
Thanks to the prevalent cloud cover, you can enjoy your holidays under perfect shade. Great things happen in Abbotsford, and if you aren’t interested in exploring the Vancouver metro area, then Abbotsford is a worthy alternative. It is the largest city in British Columbia Save for Vancouver, and it offers a similar portfolio of activities to do.
The city has a laid back and relaxed character that makes everything seem so surreal and inviting to enjoy. Whether it is mountain hiking at Sumas Mountain or taking a walk through one of the many nature trails, there are many scenic places to enjoy.
For your shot of adrenaline, the biggest sky diving provider in BC, Skydive Vancouver is in Abbotsford.
Take a dive at super crazy speeds, and when the parachute releases, enjoy an aerial view of the city. Apart from skydiving, there are several helicopter and airplane tours if you want to enjoy the city from the skies. Things to see include the lakes, snow-capped mountains, the many sunflower plantations, and downtown Abbotsford.
If you don’t fancy air tours, you could also enjoy the local’s favorite—mountain biking. There are several trails to enjoy, including the world-renowned Discovery Trail. Other activities you can indulge in include visiting local farms such as vineyards, kayaking in Fraser River, and listening to music at the Fraser Valley Symphony.
4. Québec City, Quebec
To put things in perspective, Quebec City, Quebec, receives around 1900hours of sunshine every year. This is an average of 5.21 hours daily, and factoring in seasonal variations, it’s easy to see why it deserves a spot in this article. The simple description for Quebec City’s climate is continental, the winters are considerably colder than the cities we’ve looked at, and summers are also warm. Sitting at only 14m above sea level, temperatures can drop to as low as -22 °F (-30 °C) during the cold season. Likewise, it can hit highs of 86 °F to 90 °F (30 °C to 32 °C) in the hot season. These temperatures mean that the city receives a large amount of convectional and relief rainfall accumulating to 46.9 inches (1190mm) in the course of the year.
Summers here are bearable and wet, while snow is a common phenomenon of the winters. The best time to visit Quebec City falls between late June and the first two weeks of September when the weather is warm with cloud cover overcasting the direct sunshine everywhere you head. Cloud cover is expected all year-round, but the seasonal differences mean that it is experienced differently over the year. You can expect 4.5 months beginning mid-June to be clearer.
However, even on the clearest days, there’s a 61% chance of light overcast with a 39% chance of heavy cloud cover. Snowfall is experienced for close to 6 months, beginning the last week of October to the last week of April. The driest month in Quebec is February. July experiences a lot of sunshine, and it also happens to be the wettest month to visit Quebec City.
Most people contend that of the two major French-speaking cities (Quebec City and Montreal), it is Quebec that should cover most of your itinerary. Despite the cities being only three hours away from each other, each offers a unique mix of features. For starts, if you are a fanatic of historical architecture (like we are), it is Quebec City that you should visit. Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the only other city in North America to have this designation is found in Mexico City. As a result of the biting winter cold, some activities are only possible here.
For example, there is a Toboggan Slide Au 1884, which is one of the oldest toboggans runs. Furthermore, there is the Carnaval de Quebec, which is one of the oldest winter festivals in Canada.
You don’t need a big imagination to have fun in Quebec City. There is a host of activities that you can engage in. Be it viewing the history and art of this town, visiting authentic rural Quebec, shopping, or visiting the neighborhoods, you won’t miss an activity to do.
The seductive charm of this city can be seen from the Palace Royale, Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, La Citadelle de Québec, the city walls, and many other sites. There are opportunities to see the city from the river on the St. Lawrence River, by road, and by foot. During your visit, make a point of trying cable car, ziplining, or traveling by ferry to see the city up-close. The food scene also borrows heavily from French cuisine, but you will find American and Canadian classics.
Like many cities with waterways, there are plenty of water sports, but this may not be the highlight of the trip given the beauty of the city. Be one with nature, visit the chateaus, drink good wine, and interact with people. Whatever you do, have fun in Quebec City.
5. Saint John’s, Newfoundland
Like much of Newfoundland and Labrador, Saint John’s enjoys pretty favorable weather all through the year. The city boasts the sophistication associated with big cities but still retains its small-town charm. The Winters are cold but not unbearable, and the summers are as cool as those of Prince Rupert. Cloud cover here results from the cold Labrador currents and the warm gulf stream current, which cumulates to a front of air that forms the clouds. Mist is also a characteristic of Saint John’s, Newfoundland, but perhaps the ubiquitous trait is the overcast environment almost all year round.
The rising ocean currents mean that the whole place is characterized by a snowfall of up to 11 inches(3350mm), making it the snowiest Canadian city. Snowfall is expected between November and April, but sometimes it can be expected to snow from October to May. Temperatures range from between 32 °F to 70 °F (0 °C to 21 °C). At its warmest, the city experiences highs of 28 °C/ 82 °F and average temperatures -4.9 °C.
The warmest month is August, and the coldest one in February. Rainfall can reach 60.4 inches (1535mm). As a result of the high cloud cover, sunshine is limited to a measly 1635hours a year, an average of 4.48 hours every day. This means the best time to visit St. John’s, Newfoundland, is in July and August, where the weather phenomena are at their mildest.
The Atlantic Ocean is just 2.57 miles from the city; hence the city is a haven for many water sports, given it is also close to where ocean currents meet. Sportfishing is a popular pastime for locals, but don’t be surprised to see some big-name teams in town. If you saw pictures of St John’s, you could assume it was mini-San Francisco, just without the cable cars. There is nature, nightlife and many tourist activities to enjoy in this city. The buildings here have the charm of Rotterdam with colorful buildings everywhere you look.
Beyond the colorful buildings is a harbor that celebrates the town’s historic association with fishing. There are opportunities to hike up Signal Hill, where you can see some daring cliffside architecture. Up the hill, you will find the fabled Cabot Tower built to celebrate John Cabot’s adventures seafaring and his pitstop in the town. This house is perhaps known as the place where the first transatlantic wireless message was transmitted in 1901, sealing its place in modern history and technology.
Several high-end eateries can be found in the city, boasting locally sourced ingredients, and the seafood is also as fresh as it can be. As one of the oldest cities in North America, the city celebrates the merchants responsible for founding it in 1519. Food and drinks are in plenty, and if you want the seclusion that most holiday places don’t offer, St. Johns Newfoundland is the place for you—just remember to set your time one and half hours behind.
6. Sherbrooke, Quebec
Like much of Quebec, Sherbrooke enjoys the Koppen Climate Classification, also known as the warm summer continental climate. The summers here are pleasant without the scorching sun because of the clouds that overcast most of it, while the winters are extremely cold and cloudy. The warm season stretches from late May to mid-to-late September with temperatures ranging from 58°F to 76°F (14.4 °C to 24.4 °C).
The cold season spans 3.3 months from early December to Mid-March with temperatures ranging from 4°F and 24°F (-15.5 °C to -4.4 °C). In Sherbrooke, cloud cover is a common phenomenon, with only seasonal variations in weather affecting the degree of cover. The longest spell of partly clear skies lasts five months from late May to October. The rest of the year is spent under heavy cloud cover, with a 76% overcast most of the time.
As a result of the heavy clouds, rainfall is expected for 9 out of the 12 months in a year, with the possibility of 3.9 inches of rain in a day. Rainfall is at its highest in August and the least in February. Further to this, snowfall is expected throughout the year, with peak fall from mid-December to mid-January. On average, there is a snowfall of about 101.1 inches snow, but the bulk of it can only be seen when January comes in.
The Highest point of Sherbrooke, Quebec, is 333 meters above sea level. However, due to the heavy snowfall, you can enjoy winter sports for a long time during the year. Besides that, the town has an intriguing history, a vibrant art scene, and beauty to be enjoyed all year round. For example, Sherbrooke Nature and Science Museum has thousands of specimens of plants and animals from across the globe. The Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts, on the other hand, has art collections spanning three decades. Aside from the galleries, you could also enjoy a local wine and craft brewing culture on your trip here.
Fondly described as “the heart of townships,” this city has a big town attitude and only collates the region’s best aspects. If you want to commune with nature, then a trip to the Parc du Mont-Bellevue in town or a walk on Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook bridge will work for you. Take maximum advantage of your trip to this town to try new things like a dinner on the Orford Express Tourist Train that drives through the picturesque Eastern Townships rural setting.
If your visit falls in winter, take this opportunity to enjoy cross country skiing or cycle on a fat bike, whichever you settle for, you are assured of plenty of fun and wander all through.
7. Sudbury, Ontario
Sudbury City and much of the greater Sudbury enjoy a climate much like the areas we have explored. Thanks to its low altitude and proximity to the ocean, the summers are warm and cloudy, and much of the winters are freezing cold and overcast. Summer temperatures range from 70°F -82°F (21°C -28°C), and during winter, temperatures can drop beyond -3°C. Like Sherbrooke, Quebec, it has the Köppen Climate Classifications, which means it enjoys warm summer continental weather.
The warm weather season starts from late May and spans approximately four months to mid-September. On the converse, the cold weather season begins from early December and goes on for around three and a half months to mid-march. Most of the time, Sudbury is under cloud cover. However, a period of less cloud cover occurs between late March to mid-October each year. During the cloudiest times of the year-a period beginning mid-October and ending in late May, the area is heavily clouded 73% of the time and only part overcast 27% of the time.
The bi-product of all this cloud cover is rainfall that comes for 8.5 months every year, with the dry season also experiencing a bit of rainfall. In total, the rainy season here stretches a whopping 9.7 months out of a year, with the heaviest rainfall coming between March and December. Sudbury’s climate is mainly influenced by its proximity to large water bodies, arctic air masses, ocean currents, and its position globally.
Sudbury is everyone’s playground with many activities to do in all seasons. From fat biking in the snow during its long winters to shopping or enjoying the local arts and culture offerings, you won’t fall short of activities to add to your itinerary. For shopping, there are great antique shops, thrift shops, and malls to wander, and after, you can find a cute little place to fill your famished self. You can even opt for a day at the Beach at Windy Lake Provincial Park, where you will enjoy the wonderland at Kivi Park, which features some of the best trails to hike and bike during warm weather and to skiing in the Canadian winters.
If you are looking for an adventure, you can go swimming at Lake Wanapitei, which arose from a meteorite crater or follow the Jackson trails at Onaping falls. Lake Panache, located close to town, has Burbot, Whitefish, Large and Smallmouth Bass. This is a fun and cheap destination for the anglers to try. Simply rent a kit from many of the local outfitters and spend the day on the water.
For water activities, floating downstream on the Vermillion river is unmatchable even by 5-star hotel standards. Birdwatchers can take advantage of the temperate rainforests around to view many species of birds—just remember to carry your hiking boots for a dive into the forests to see them. Cheese lovers can enjoy eclectic cheese and charcuteries at the famous La Fromagerie restaurant or choose to satisfy their sugar cravings at Beards Coffee Bar & Bakery.
Besides these, there are so many restaurants for fine dining and drinking. If you are into sudsy drinks, Sudbury, as it is aptly named, will not disappoint. Enjoy some of the best craft brews at Stack Brewing, local pubs, and liquor stores in town.
8. Halifax, Nova Scotia
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the skies are clear-ish for about five months annually. These clear skies can be seen from late June to mid-November. The clearest times of the year fall in September, but even then, you can expect the sky to be partly cloudy 60% of the time, with a 40% chance of being fully overcast.
During the heavily cloudy seasons, there is a 63% chance of the sky being wholly overcast and a realistic chance of it being partly overcast. This means that you can expect Halifax to have a decent amount of cloud cover any time of the year.
With this much overcast, summers are soothing under the shade of the clouds, but winters can be extremely atrocious. The warmest season of the year spans approximately three months, starting mid-June to late September, and temperatures can go as high as 74°F (23 °C).
This is the ambient temperature to do all your summer activities without having to worry about sunburns or dressing down all day. From early December to late March, the cold season kicks in, and temperatures can go as low as 18°F (-7.8°C). Despite that, rainfall is not as much as the other cloudy cities. In the rainiest month (November), rainfall is still an impressive 3.8 inches, while in the driest month (February), rainfall is at 1.8 inches.
One thing that is guaranteed despite the variations in weather is that there are fun activities for all seasons. While Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a big city, it still retains the charm of a small town. There are magnificent sceneries, great food, and beautiful and welcoming people to meet all around.
On its Atlantic shores, you will find one of the busiest ports in the region, but it’s the boating and yachting culture, the seafood, restaurants, and parties that are the main attractions here. The local food scene just makes it a must-try. There are tons of lobster, fish, scallops’ shrimp—you think about it, it’s probably there.
If you visit in September, you will just be in time for the annual oyster festival, where all of Halifax’s seafood is presented. On the streets, you will find food carts, cafes, and street food where you can enjoy all these and more of Canadas’ fine dining and soul food. There is also a thriving craft brewery scene with new microbreweries emerging each day—just more to enjoy.
After you are done addressing matters of the stomach, make a point of exploring the local arts scene. When you run out of touristy activities, head out to the parks to commune with nature or spend the day at the beaches of Crystal Crescent, Hubbards, or Queensland. Before you leave, visit McNab’s and Lawlor Island Provincial Park or Peggy’s cove for your holiday pictures.
9. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
In Saskatoon, cloud cover is part of daily. It may not be as high as Halifax, Sherbrooke, or Prince Rupert, but it is definitely high compared to what the normal city sees on average. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan experiences relatively clear skies from mid-May for approximately five months ending in mid-October. In this period, the skies can be clear or partly cloudy for 68% of the time and heavily clouded at 32% of the time.
The cold season in Saskatoon goes on for three and a half months from late November to early March. Temperatures in this season can reach lows of -3°F (-19.4 °C). During the warm season, which lasts around four months starting mid-May to mid-September, temperatures can reach highs of 78°F (25.6 °C). The hottest and coldest months are July and January, respectively. For 185 days a year, the temperatures go below 0 °C, and the outlook is generally frosty and overcast. Luckily, rainfall is scarce, with only about 15.4 inches falling each year.
It rains most heavily in June, while the driest month is February. This means that the best time to visit this city is summer which falls between June and August. However, unlike the other cities we’ve looked at, the sun here is quite hot in summer because of the lar cloud cover during the time. As a consequence, the bulk of visitors come in May and September when the conditions are milder.
What better way to start your tour of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan than doing the most touristy thing of all—a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city. If that’s not interesting enough, how about a boat cruise on the Prairie Lily?
If your visit coincides with winter, then cross-country skiing at Blackstrap Provincial Park will get the adrenaline pumping. At Blackstrap Provincial Park, you can also mountain bike or hike in the warm season when the hills are not covered by snow. Saskatoon has approximately 400 geocaches hidden all over town.
If you fancy treasure hunts, this is the perfect pastime for you. It is also a nice way to systematically cover every nook of the city. If you want to learn the history of Saskatoon, also dubbed the “Paris of the Prairies,” head to Wanuskewin Heritage Park, which is a time capsule for the whole city. Thanks to preserving nearly 6000 years of Canadian history, it is also a contender for the UNESCO World Heritage site.
If you are into equestrian sports, a day at the races and Marquis Downs will be the racing fix you need. On Friday and Saturday afternoons, you can place your bets and enjoy the races with purses ranging from $3,000 and $100,000.
For a cultured evening, enjoy an evening at Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra or have a night of music at Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival if it falls during the time of your visit. In winter, you can try one of the most adventurous winter activities—dogsledding.
When you’re done with land activities, you can also catch a trip on one of the close to 100,000 rivers that make up Saskatchewan to catch walleye, trout, arctic grayling, and northern pike.
10. Kelowna, British Columbia
In Kelowna, British Columbia, a clear/partly cloudy sky can be seen in only about four months all year round. It is another city in British Columbia that enjoys a climate influenced by cloud cover. Here the summers are enjoyable without being excessively sunny. The overcast sky provides a natural shade that prevents a lot of the direct insolation that would otherwise be the case.
Clears skies can be seen from mid-June to early October, with a 73% chance of it being partly cloudy or clear. The cloudiest season comes from early October to Mid-June the next year. Temperatures range between 23°F and 85°F in regular times, but they have been recorded being as low as -7°F and as high as 94°.
Most of the activities in Kelowna are shared with other major cities of British Columbia. However, since it is the first town before you enter the Okanagan Valley, it has its unique offering that everyone ought to experience. When you are in Kelowna, make a point of visiting downtown. Here you will find many microbreweries, restaurants, and cafes to sample drinks and food from—Mountain bike on the many trails and boardwalks. Take a tour to the Myra Canyon Trestles or relax by the waterside on many lakes. You can also make the city your golf tour destination to play in its 19 international standard golf courses.
What are you waiting for? Book Now Pay Later today to enjoy your vacation under the shade of the Canadian skies.