Canada in August

August is the last month of Canada’s summer. Tourist season isn’t over, but the crowds are slowly thinning. On average, it’s cooler than July but warmer than June unless you hit a heat wave.

August can be the hottest time of year in Canada, but waves are random and short-lived. More about the weather later.

In this article we cover everything you need to know before visiting our beautiful country during this summer month:

  • The weather
  • What to Wear/What to Pack
  • Crowds / Least Crowded Places
  • Best Things to Do (From a Local)

It’s still busy, so, it’s essential to plan ahead and book your accommodation well in advance:

Please save both links from booking.com and Expedia (both open in a new tab) and compare prices to save money!

Make sure to check both other Canada summer guides:

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The Best Tours in August

Is August a Good Time?

August is a good time to visit Canada. It’s still peak tourist season, but the crowds are smaller than in July. Temperatures are high in early August but gradually drop later in the month as summer transitions to fall. The average high is 79°F (26°C), and the average low is 57°F (14°C).

Weather

Average high temps during the month. Photo: Yoho National Park (British Columbia) in August

Coast-to-coast, Canada is 3,000 miles (4,828 km) wide. With that much space, climates can certainly vary. Yet, some things remain relatively similar throughout the country.

In August, the average high temperature in Canada ranges from 60°F (15°C) to 79°F (26°C). Early August is the height of summer with hot days and the warmest weather. Prepare for cooler temperatures later in the month. The average rainfall is between 1.7 inches (44 mm) and  6.4 inches (163 mm).

However, sometimes, Canada still gets sporadic heat waves in late summer and early fall. Late August temperatures are usually cooler unless you hit one of these brutally hot waves. Typically, late summer heat waves only last three days to a week, but they can get very hot.

For example, Regina, Saskatchewan, hit 95°F (35°C) on September 1st, 2022.

If you’re coming to Canada in late August, be ready to face cooler temperatures as well as extreme heat. If you hit one of these waves, always carry a water bottle. I would even add ice cubes to my water bottle on days like that. It’s really easy to get dehydrated in temperatures above 90°F (30°C).

Where are the heat waves? Random heat waves can happen anywhere in Canada. However, you’re most likely to encounter one in Southern Ontario or the prairie provinces. Be prepared wherever you go, but also be aware of the higher likelihood of one in these regions.

Thunderstorms: Spells of mixing hot and cold air sometimes cause thunderstorms. The prairies and Maritimes are most prone to stormy skies. Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick get hit by hurricanes during peak season. However, you’ll know well in advance if one is on its way.

Each Atlantic Canadian province has a hurricane protocol. There are plenty of measures taken to keep residents and tourists safe. There’s no reason for you to skip a Maritime vacation for fear of hurricanes.

Similarly, eastern Ontario and the prairies get tornadoes. Tornado season runs from April to September, but dangerous touchdowns are infrequent. I’ve seen more funnel clouds in these regions than I’ve heard of major twisters. It’s good to be aware of the possibility, but there’s no need to be afraid.

The following list shows the average high temperatures in various Canadian cities between early and late August (the first number is early August, and the second one is late August)

  • Whitehorse (Yukon): 69°F – 60°F (20°C – 15°C)
  • Vancouver: 73°F – 69°F (23°C – 21°C)
  • Banff: 72°F – 66°F (22°C – 19°C)
  • Toronto: 77°F – 74°F (25°C – 23°C)
  • Montréal: 79°F – 74°F (26°C – 23°C)
  • Québec City: 78°F – 73°F (25°C – 23°C)
  • Halifax: 74°F – 71°F (23°C – 21°C)
Rain
A few clouds but no rain on this day in August in Nova Scotia. Photo: Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

August is a fairly dry month in most of Canada. Most regions are heading into the drier fall season, except for British Columbia (where fall is their wettest season). The average rainfall ranges from 1.7 inches (44 mm) to 6.4 inches (163 mm).

In most regions, there are usually only about three to twelve days of rain in Canada throughout the month. So, you could easily luck out and miss those days. Some areas even have periods of drought in August. You’ll miss the rain there, but the air can get very dry.

The Government of Canada has a drought monitor that predicts the likelihood of drought in any given month. Canadian farmers usually use this tool, but you might find it useful if you want to avoid dry spells.

In August, the wettest province is British Columbia, and the driest is Saskatchewan. For reference, here are their average rainfalls in August.

  • BC: 3.5 in (88 mm) – 6.4 in (163 mm)
  • Saskatchewan: 1.7 in (44 mm) – 3 in (77 mm)
Sunshine (Daylight Hours)

If you’re traveling to the Yukon or Northwest Territories, watch out for the “Midnight Sun.” This period lasts from June to September in the Yukon and April to August in the Northwest Territories. It means that there’s sunlight 24 hours a day.

This phenomenon of ‘Midnight Sun’ makes it hard to sleep, but many people head that way to experience it. If you want to try living under the Midnight Sun for a short while, pack a sleep mask or seek hotels with blackout curtains.

June has the longest days in Canada, but August still gets its fair share of sunlight. The Midnight Sun stays north, but you’ll still get plenty of sunny days in the south.

Excluding places with 24 hours of sunshine, Alberta has the highest number of sunny days in August, and British Columbia is the cloudiest (given the increasing rainfall). Here are their averages:

  • Alberta: 21-29 sunny days
  • BC: 21-24 sunny days

What to Wear | What to Pack

During August in Canada, be prepared with a light sweater or jacket. When it’s warm wear t-shirts and shorts or pants or layers for the nights and for cooler regions. Revealing a lot of skin is tempting, but in case of a heat wave breathable, loose-fitting cool clothing is better for protection.

Nights and mornings are cooler than the day all month, but especially in late August. However, late August nights are comparatively warmer than early June ones.

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Pack a few layers for cooler nights. A light jacket or sweater is probably enough, but this depends on your cold sensitivity. If you find 50-59°F (10-15°C) cold, you’ll want warmer clothing for a Canadian vacation in August.

Mosquitoes: Between May and September in Canada, it is mosquito season. The bugs are still around in August, so pack your bug spray, especially if you’re going on some outdoor adventures.

The same spray that keeps mosquitoes away will also work against ticks. Canada has two peak tick seasons. The first is from mid-March to mid-May, and the second is from mid-August to November.

Those may be the peak seasons, but they can appear anytime the weather is above 39°F (4°C). You’re most likely to encounter them in heavily wooded areas and tall grass. It’s more of a concern in outdoorsy spots; you’re unlikely to encounter them in urban areas.

💡 When I go hiking during the tick season, I wear long pants and spray bug spray around my ankles. If you’re hiking in a thick bush, wear long sleeves and spray along anywhere there’s an opening (neckline, ends of sleeves, etc.). Go for loose-fitting, light-colored long clothing to beat the heat while covering your skin from ticks.

Dogs: If you plan to bring a dog on your adventure, ensure they’re up-to-date on their seasonal tick treatment or give them a flea collar. Ticks like your furry friend as much as they like you, and they’ll sometimes hitch a ride on your dog to get to your skin.

You need to pack the following for Canada in August:

  • Cotton t-shirts
  • Loose-fitting layers
  • Shorts, skirts, or skorts
  • Long pants
  • Loose-fitting, light-colored long-sleeved shirts
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhats
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottles
  • Sleep mask
  • Sundresses (if you wear them)
  • Good walking shoes
  • Light jackets or sweaters
  • An umbrella (good for the rain or the blazing sun)
  • A handheld fan or mister in case it gets very hot and dry

Crowds / How Busy

The Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver is a popular attraction. Get there early to avoid crowds.

Canada is still busy in August and has a pretty steady stream of tourists, but not as many as in July. The first Monday of August is a federal holiday in Canada. That means crowds will be busier than usual during that weekend, and many businesses will be closed on that Monday.

💡  In late August, some Canadian kids go back to school. It’s not the end of tourist season, but back-to-school time will thin the crowds a bit. Not all Canadian schools go back in late August, though. Some do, but others wait until September.

No matter the time of year, major tourist attractions will always be busier than other parts of Canada. Summer accommodations book fast, so I recommend booking your stay well in advance if you’re heading to a popular spot. You could also try staying in a small town away from the attraction.

To experience Canada without the crowds, check out some of these remote destinations.

  • Churchill, Manitoba: It’s the world’s polar bear capital, but late July to early August is Beluga whale season. Take a boat tour on the Churchill River to meet some of these playful creatures. Be aware that Churchill also gets the Midnight Sun during summer.
  • Komoka Provincial Park: This park is located near London, Ontario. It’s lesser known than the major parks around the Rockies. Enjoy walking, mountain biking, or horseback riding on park trails.
  • Manitoulin Island, Ontario: Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest island on a freshwater lake. It sits in Lake Huron and makes for a peaceful escape with gorgeous natural scenery. Hike the Cup and Saucer trail, take a boat tour, or discover the island’s historic lighthouses.
  • Kananaskis Country: This hidden gem is often overlooked for its popular neighbor, Banff. Kananaskis is a wildlife watcher’s paradise. Wildlife watching tours are available to help you see the region’s bears, wolves, foxes, cougars, golden eagles, bighorn sheep, and other species safely.
  • Gatineau, Québec: Gatineau is a beautiful riverside town that borders Ontario and Québec. Rent a nearby cabin, visit the Canadian Museum of History, enjoy the riverside, and take a day trip to Ottawa to see Parliament Hill.
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba: If you want an urban vacation without the cramped streets, Winnipeg might be for you. Nicknamed “Chicago of the North,” this down-to-earth city only has about 700,000 people. It’s big enough to be urban but small enough to not be crowded. Enjoy the Forks, Museum of Human Rights, or one of many arts festivals.

Top Things To Do / Best Places To Visit

Nothing beats the late summer in Canada. The wildlife tends to be active, the locals are enjoying this pleasant time, and travelers from around the world flock to soak in all Canada has to offer.

Canadian Rockies / Banff & Jasper National Park

The parks along the Canadian Rockies are truly mind-blowing. There are endless activities for the avid lover of the outdoors, including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and fishing spots galore. August is still peak season in the parks, with warm temperatures and seemingly endless days creating the perfect conditions for exploring the wilderness.

Banff and Jasper National Parks are extremely accessible. Due to the well-paved roads throughout the park, anyone can get amazing views and visit interesting locations no matter their level of mobility.

There are numerous day hikes off the main road and several provincial campgrounds in the parks. You must book campsites ahead of time, especially in the summer months.

If you enjoy avoiding crowds, my favorite campground in this area is Wabasso Campground in Jasper. It’s a quieter park with gorgeous views and campsites nestled along the stunning Athabasca River.

Vancouver

Vancouver is a charming seaside city with a modern feel. Located in a banana belt region in Canada, it’s a great destination in August!

The mountains meet the sea in Vancouver, and there are many picturesque places to walk and enjoy the view. A few of my favorite spots to explore are Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Kitsilano Beach.

If urban attractions are more your style, Vancouver has much to offer.

Attractions we love include:

  • The Vancouver Aquarium
  • The Museum of Anthropology
  • English Bay
  • The Museum of Vancouver
  • Van Dusen Botanical Garden

Vancouver also serves as a base for outdoor adventures. You can hike Grouse Mountain, home to Grouse Grind, known as “Mother Nature’s StairMaster,” or explore the sea on a whale-watching trip. Visitors also love to walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a walkway that spans a 229 ft. (70 m) river canyon.

Montreal

Canada may be famous for its beautiful landscapes, but Montreal is a cultural treasure that should not be missed.

Foodies will feel at home in Montreal, known worldwide for its eclectic gastronomical offerings. Be sure to check out The Expérience Peel MTL Foodies festival. This exciting collaboration between eight of the city’s top restaurants offers outdoor canopied dining all summer long.

Montreal features exciting and entertaining festivals during the summer months.

Montreal has a distinctly European feel, so much so that I call it the “poor man’s Europe” in the sense that for Americans, it’s much more affordable to visit than hopping across the pond. It offers an abundance of art and cultural sites to explore and is surrounded by gorgeous countryside ripe for picture taking.

Bay of Fundy

Known for its extreme tide changes, the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is a gorgeous retreat for solo adventurers and families alike. Summertime is the best time to visit, as you’ll have access to all the exciting outdoor activities this area offers.

Burntcoat Head park is a must-see spot, with the tides rushing in and out over 160 billion tons of water twice a day. At low tide, you can walk on the ocean floor, where you might see tidepools, fossils, or caves to explore.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can try Tidal Bore Rafting — a great activity for the warm month of August, especially during a heat wave, as you are certain to get wet. Another popular summer adventure is kayaking along the coast near Cape Chignecto Provincial Park.

Families will love taking a geological tour along the rock cliffs to dig for dinosaurs and step back in time to when the Bay of Fundy was a lush rainforest.

Niagara Falls

August is a great time of seeing Niagara Falls gleam in the bright sunshine. Temperatures can reach as high as 80°F (27°C) during the summer months. However, August is still a popular month at the falls, but as long as you plan and book your trip several months in advance, you won’t have to deal with steep prices or miss out on your chosen excursions.

Taking a day tour of the Falls is the best way to avoid long lines and get the most out of your time there. It can be as simple as going all out with a wine and helicopter tour of the falls.

Some of the best ways to experience the falls are a Maid in the Mist Tour, a Whirlpool Aero Car, or visiting Goat Island to see both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the falls.

Northumberland County

Just east of Toronto lies a region of picturesque countryside and luxury attractions with a quaint, timeless feel. Summer in Northumberland gives you access to the local agriculture, spas, and breathtaking hikes available to explore.

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, consider St. Anne’s Spa, a resort located in a country castle replete with hot spring pools and flower gardens that are sure to be in full bloom this time of year. The spa offers rooms or cottages for overnight guests and day passes to the pools for day-trippers.

The Northumberland County Forest features 5,000 acres (20.23 sq. km) of protected wilderness to explore. It features a 73-mile (118 km) trail network, so you’re unlikely to run out of places to discover.

 

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