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Trying to distill the climate of Canada into an easy to understand statement is impossible, given the vast area that this country occupies. The southernmost point of mainland southern Ontario, Point Pelee, and the nearby islands in Lake Erie are at a very similar latitude to northern California, and has a climate similar to the eastern US. Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, is just south of the Arctic Circle and remains very cold for most of the year.

However, as most of the Canadian population resides within a few hundred kilometers of Canada's border with the United States, visitors to most cities will probably not have to endure the weather that accompanies a trip to the northern territories. In fact, summers can be hot in parts of Canada. Summer temperatures over 28°C (82.4°F) are not unusual in extreme Southern Ontario and the southern Interior of British Columbia. Toronto's climate is only slightly cooler than many cities in the northeastern United States, and summers in the southern parts of Ontario and Quebec are often hot and humid. In the BC Interior, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the humidity is often low during the summer, even during hot weather. In the winter, Southern Ontario is only slightly cooler than the northeastern United States, but temperatures under -10°C (14°F) are not uncommon in Southern Ontario.

The climate in Canada also depends in large part on how close to the coast you travel. Many inland cities, especially those in the Prairies, experience extreme changes in weather. Winnipeg, Manitoba (also colloquially known as 'Winterpeg') has hot summers easily exceed 35°C (95°F), yet experiences very cold winters where -40°C (-40°F) is not uncommon. The hottest temperatures in Canadian recorded history was in southern Saskatchewan, at 45°C (113°F). Conversely, coastal cities in British Columbia is generally milder year-round and gets little snow. The Atlantic Provinces are usually not as mild as the Prairies and the Territories although they constantly experience temperatures below zero in the winter. The Atlantic Provinces are also well known to experience many blizzards during the winter season. In British Columbia, Vancouver and Victoria are temperate and get very little snow, and seldom experience temperatures below 0°C or above 27°C (32-80°F).

Apart from having usually milder temperatures year-round than the interior areas of Canada, coastal areas can have very high rainfall. Areas such as coastal British Columbia get some of the highest rainfall in Canada, but it can be very dry in the southern BC Interior due to the Coastal Mountains acting as a rain shadow. The wind can be a big factor on the Canadian Prairies because there are wide open areas not unlike those in the Midwest states of the US, and makes for unpleasant windchills during cold weather in the winter. The average temperature is typically colder in Canada than in the US and Western Europe as a whole, so bring your jacket if visiting between October and May, and early and later than this if visiting areas further north. The rest of the year, in most of the country, daytime highs are generally above 15°C (60°F).

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