Our beautiful country of Canada has a reputation for being cold, especially in the deepest months of winter. So if you love mild or cold climates, you will be happy almost all year round. Being the second biggest country, there are plenty of places to visit too.
For all you travelling souls who love your winter wardrobes, let’s find out what the coldest place in Canada is. There are a lot of statistics to break down and we considered average yearly temperatures and seasonal temperatures, total days of sun and wind chill factors. It is also worth keeping in mind the weather patterns all around the world are changing, so this year and next year could be noticeably different. Not to say you will need your swimsuit going to Alberta in spring, but that the information is correct as we stand in our snow boats at this moment in time.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada was −63.0 °C or −81 °F in Snag, Yukon. That bone-chilling day was way back in 1947 during a cold snap that hit most of the world. Newspapers were full of stories about the weather, including London’s River Thames, freezing over for the first time in over a century.
Snag, once a vibrant mining town during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, is always cold, but the locals are still talking about that coldest day that went down in history as the winds blew in from northeastern Siberia. Being the coldest place in Canada at that time put them on the map.
In general, according to statistics, Eureka in Nunavut is the coldest place in Canada, with average temperatures hovering around −19.7 °C or −3 °F for the year. Eureka is home to a small group of meteorologists who live at the weather station there. They experience 24 hours of darkness a day between October and February, then contrastingly, the sun never sets between March and September. Talk about dramatic weather!
In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, temps can drop to -35°C in the middle of winter. This is a good time for dog sledding, viewing the colourful Aurora Borealis in the sky, spotting wildlife and camping winter-style if you are brave enough and have an experienced guide to take you. Wilderness lodges and luxury hotels will be a more popular option for many travellers who like some comforts after a day of exploring the gorgeous but cold surroundings.
Nunavut is a huge territory in northern Canada and you can see it covers most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on the map. The artwork by indigenous Inuit people is well-known, including paintings, carvings and handmade clothing. Inuit art can be admired at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in the capital, Iqaluit, on Baffin Island.
Looking at big cities in Canada, Saguenay in Quebec beats out other urban sprawls to have the lowest average annual temperature of -3°C. Even when Saguenay is at its hottest average temperature, we only see 8°C. In January, Saguenay sees temps around -21°C January, which is pretty chilly. You will need your thermals to explore the Saguenay Fjord, National Park.
Snowshoeing is a wonderful way to see the landscape covered in snow, and you can go night hiking with torches at Ghost Valley, aka Vallée des Fantômes, in the coldest months. Ice fishing is a fun holiday activity to try in Saguenay and might include dinner if you are lucky. But never mind if you don’t snag a fish because Saguenay has plenty of great restaurants to cozy up in at the end of a busy day.
The wind chill is a major factor when it comes to how chilly it feels and in Regina, Saskatchewan, it gets very cold. The capital of the province sees the highest number of negative-20 index days annually, sometimes falling to -40°C or less. That kind of weather means you need to be careful of frostbite and hypothermia, especially for children and the elderly who often feel the cold most.
In Regina, you can expect over 200 days per year with the minimum temperature sitting at zero or below. So the winter sports and activities season is long, with ice skating, cross-country skiing and tobogganing going on for much of the year.
If you are visiting during winter, pack your warmest jacket and matching fashion accessories for lots of outdoors fun. Wascana Park in central Regina is one of the biggest urban parks in North America. With Wascana Lake, it makes a pretty place for a winter stroll and each season puts on its beautiful display. Cross-country skiing, bird watching and nature photography are just a few of the winter activities you can enjoy in the spacious park. You might drop in to see Saskatchewan’s Legislative Building warm-up and take a tour of the grand building. The Eskimo Winter Festival draws in big crowds and is an exciting event to catch if you happen to be in town.
Aside from the massive park, you have the Saskatchewan Science Centre and The Royal Saskatchewan Museum if you want to add a dash of education to your trip. What would a vacation be without dining at some special restaurants? The foodie scene is deliciously diverse, thanks to the large migrant population in the area. You can find many kinds of cuisine, including Indian, Mexican and Korean.
Go shopping at Centennial Market in the Warehouse district to find more food plus homeware, clothing, shoes, jewelry, art and much more. Regina also has a quirky side which you will appreciate when you buy tickets for the Elvis Museum or find the big grasshopper sculpture named Reginald. At Christmas time, the locals wrap the much-loved statue in lights, making it a perfect photo for Instagram for visitors and a meeting place for locals.
Next, we are shivering in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a place that is cold every season compared to other places around Canada. The capital of Manitoba is an exciting place to visit in the winter and other seasons. There are lots of winter activities to try, like ice skating, riding sleds at Assiniboine Park and hiking. If you want to head indoors, catch an ice hockey game or book a tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building or the Royal Canadian Mint. The ballet or symphony orchestra shows are a sophisticated way to spend an evening followed by a nice meal. Art galleries, museums, spa time, and excellent shopping are all waiting for you in Winnipeg.
At Assiniboine Park Zoo, you can see polar bears, wolves, Arctic fox and snowy owls up close and personal. If you’ve seen the TV show Arctic Vets, you might have seen the zoo staff working with these animals and birds of wintery climates already. At the zoo, there are many programs, tours and workshops for nature lovers to participate in.
You can’t miss the colourful murals by talented local street artists with over 600 walls adorned with eye-catching artwork. The history, culture and essence of Winnipeg are reflected in the photogenic creations that showcase many different styles. Choosing a favourite would be impossible.
The winters in these cold places in Canada can be long, harsh and snowy, but the residents would have it no other way. They continue with life and are always ready for the coldest weather conditions Mother Nature can bring on. They are proud to live in the coldest place in Canada.
For the places where tourism exists, these destinations are set up for fun in the sun and the snow so you can arrive, play, explore and relax easily and effortlessly. All you have to do is book your flights and accommodation and make sure you pack for the cold weather.
If you arrive to discover it is even more freezing than you imagined you can always go shopping. These places are also great for getting staples and special fashion pieces for your winter wardrobe. That new leather jacket you picked up will always remind you of one of the best winter vacations you ever had.
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