The New Canadian Weather Winners
About ten years ago, a similar analysis of weather winners was undertaken, albeit for fewer cities and categories, using an older set of climate data (the "normals" from 1961 to 1990). In comparing weather winners now and then, it is noteworthy that Kamloops BC remains the city with the warmest summers, and Yellowknife is still the coldest year-round and in winter. This northern city is still the place to be if you like your summers sunny. Also maintaining their weather reputation: Victoria still has the least amount of snow, Thompson MB the greatest number of freezing days and Vancouver the fewest freezing days. Prince Rupert BC is still the wettest city but, in the meantime, got even wetter. St. John's NL remains the wind and fog capital of Canada and Windsor continues to be the city with the most summer humidity and the most smoke and haze.
Some cities overtook others in the list of Canadian weather honours. For example, Gander, NL not Sept-Îles, QC is now the snowiest. Gander replaced St. John's as the freezing rain capital of Canada. Medicine Hat AB is now tops for sunshine, switching places with Estevan SK. Unfortunately for residents of Winnipeg, they no longer live in the sunniest winter city. Those bragging rights belong to Calgary, although Winnipeggers can boast about having the greatest number of hours with clear skies year-round.
* Canada's five snowiest cities (annual snowfall in centimetres) are Gander NL with 443 cm, Corner Brook NL with 422 cm, Sept-Îles QC with 412 cm, Campbellton NB with 392 cm and Baie Comeau QC with 362 cm. Of note, Ottawa with an annual average snowfall of 236 cm, is only the 34th snowiest city in Canada, but it remains the snowiest national capital in the world.
* Cities with the lowest annual snowfall include Victoria BC with 44 cm, Duncan BC on Vancouver Island with 46 cm, Vancouver (48 cm), Abbotsford BC with 64 cm) and Penticton BC with 67 cm. Swift Current SK (92 cm) is the first city outside British Columbia in the lowest snowfall category, in 9th place.
* The top cold spots (lowest annual average temperature °C) are Yellowknife at -4.6°C, Thompson MB at -3.2° and in a distant third place Whitehorse at -0.7°C, followed by Fort McMurray AB 0.7° and Sept-Îles QC at 0.8°.
* For the top hot spots (highest annual average temperature °C), ten of the eleven warmest cities are in British Columbia. Only Windsor ON in 8th place is from outside the province. Chilliwack BC garnered top honours as the warmest city (10.5°), followed by Vancouver (10.1°), Abbotsford BC (10.0°), Nanaimo BC (9.8°) and Victoria (9.7°).
* The coldest winters (average night-time temperature during December, January and February, inclusive) belong to Yellowknife at -28.9°, Thompson MB at -28.2°, Rouyn-Noranda QC -23.3°, Prince Albert SK at -22.5°, and Fort McMurray AB at -21.7°. And Winnipeg, the coldest city over 600,000 people in the world, is only the 10th coldest Canadian city also trailing behind Val-d'Or QC, Timmins ON, Brandon MB and Yorkton SK.
For a large city - definitely Vancouver, B.C. (British Columbia). A medium size city - Victoria, BC (on the southern tip of Vancouver Island). But both the Vancouver area (nicknamed "the lower mainland") and Vancouver Island get a lot of rain. Same type of climate as Seattle only we seem to have a little less snow.
Other medium size cities would be Kamloops or Kelowna, BC. Kamloops is a little further north than Kelowna, so it is a bit colder there during the winter. Kelowna is in the Okanagan Valley which is always mild during the winter and HOT during the summer (we only get snow for Christmas about once every 4 years). The Okanagan has a booming wine industry and is a tourist mecca during the summer. The Okanagan also has Canada's only desert, massive sparkling lakes, breathtaking ski hills - geez I sound like a commercial. I've lived in many places around the world and almost anywhere in the interior or southern BC is truly beautiful. Plug in any of those city names on a search engine and you'll be able to find photo's.
It's all in how you slice it.
Canada is a land of extremes, largely because of its size. The places with the mildest winters are Vancouver and surrounding areas, from Victoria east to Chilliwack, and that would include Abbotsford as well.
The places with the warmest summers are more inland. Kelowna and the rest of the Okanagan / Shuswap region, Medicine Hat and the nearby southern prairies, as far east as Winnipeg, and then the far southern parts of Ontario and Quebec, along the St. Lawrence. They can have sweltering humid summer heat.
Overall, Vancouver and Toronto (regions) are probably the warmest places as an annual average.
If you want to look at this in great depth, go to Environment Canada's Climate webpage at..
http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/climate_normals/index_e.html and type (at least) the first three letters of the city's name. Then pick your city from the list that appears. You'll get a big green chart. About 2/3 of the way down is a section entitled "Degree Days" for most places. This is where you find out just how an individual site is thoughout the year. See how much of the time certain temperature thresholds are crossed, and by how much.
It is generally accepted that the line for "below 18°C" co-relates well to how much home heating is required for each month on average. And above 18 for air conditioning. Have fun with this.
I live in Calgary and this web page gives a good example of understanding the green sheet for that city.
The rest of the sheet is loaded with information which should help make you the center of attraction at ANY party.