Best Time to Visit Toronto (from a Canadian)

It’s weird that, even though I grew up in Toronto, being here feels like travelling. I no longer think of it as home. Which provides me with a great opportunity to be a tourist in the city.

One of the best things about Toronto is that it experiences very distinct seasons. We have a clear Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. There are different smells, foods, clothes, temperatures, and activities for each one.

As much as I dislike the snow, having those four seasons is something I really treasure about Toronto.

So which month is the best time to visit Toronto?

Let me help you figure that out! I’ll help you find the best weather for your Canadian bucket list activities.

Keep reading to learn the best time of year to visit Toronto.

Weather in Toronto

Toronto has a unique climate due to its position beside Lake Ontario.

The large lake ensures more temperature weather in the city, ensuring that the temperatures don’t dip down as low as they do in the Prairies.

Toronto has four seasons. The temperatures are warmest in the summer and coldest in the winter. However, the winter temperatures are some of the warmest in Canada (with the exception of British Columbia). Lake Ontario ensures a higher temperature and less snowfall than you can find in Ottawa and Montreal in winter.

Toronto’s summer is actually the most extreme month, where temperatures often rise so high that they cause health hazards. Coupled with the pollution of the city, many people stay indoors during the summer to avoid the health risks.

July is the most popular month to visit Toronto. But June and August are shoulder months, with similarly high volumes of tourists.

What is peak season in Toronto?

Peak tourist season in Toronto is from July to August. This is the summer break period, when the heat is at an all-time high, but so is the summer fun.

Many students are out of school, joining in on the activities that can’t be missed.

Prepare for hot days, expensive hotels, and crowded activities.

What is the cheapest time to visit Toronto?

Save money visiting Toronto by coming at the cheapest time of year: during winter. Winter is the off-season for tourists in Toronto. The cold scares them off.

But you can have an excellent winter itinerary in Toronto, even if you do have to bundle up!

Best Time to See Fall Colours in Toronto

The best time to see fall colours in Toronto is in October.

September is often too warm, with temperatures slowly shifting into fall.

However, by November 1st, many of the leaves will have fallen.

Mid-October is the best time to go to Toronto to see fall foliage.

Don't Forget to Pack the Essentials!

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  • Winterlicious (January)
  • Toronto ComicCon (March)
  • Canada Blooms (March)
  • Hot Docs (April)
  • Doors Open Toronto (May)
  • Asian and South Asian Heritage Month (May)
  • Luminato (June)
  • Pride (June)
  • Toronto Fringe Festival (July)
  • Summerlicious (July)
  • Beaches International Jazz Festival (July)
  • Taste of the Danforth (August)
  • Caribana (August)
  • CNE (August)
  • Toronto International Film Festival (September)
  • Ukie Fest (September)
  • Nuit Blanche (September)
  • Halloween Haunt at Wonderland (October)
  • Cavalcade of Lights (November)
  • Santa Claus Parade (November)
  • Toronto Christmas Market (December)
  • Holiday Fair in the Square (December)

Month by Month Guide to Toronto Weather

January

January is the beginning of true winter in Toronto. This is when the harsher snowfalls and cold weather days begin to hit.

Luckily, Canadian winters come with sunny days too. In fact, you’ll need sunglasses for how reflective the snow is!

February

February is the worst month of the year in Canada. It is the coldest and darkest month, often causing Canadians to fall into a funk.

This is a great time for skiing, but not for outdoor adventures in the city.

March

March is the last month of winter. Technically it’s the first month of spring, but with snow regularly falling until April, it’s become an unofficial extra month of winter.

April

April brings with it sunshine and flowers! Well, metaphorically.

All Canadians perk up in April when the temperatures rise to double digits in the positives and we start donning out shorts and tees far too early.

It’s a rainy month, so not great for outdoor adventures like hiking.

May

Flowers return to Toronto in May. Unfortunately, the city is very urban, so it can be hard to find them!

This is the best time of year to visit Toronto to avoid the tourists of summer but to still enjoy the flowers.

June

June is the first month of summer, when the warm temperatures become more reliable and sunshine is the main forecast.

By the end of June, tourist season will have begun in full.

July

July is the hottest month in Canada. It’s also the day when we celebrate Canada Day.

Visit Toronto in July to enjoy national festivities, warm weather, and to hang out by the water.

August

August is a great time to visit Canada for its cultural events. I highly recommend a visit to the CNE paired with a trip to Wonderland to hit all of Toronto’s famous amusement parks.

September

September is the best month to visit Toronto. It has the remnants of the heat of summer, without the crowds. It’s also a time when the leaves start changing, so you can see the true wonder of Canada’s autumn season.

October

Visit in October to go apple picking and watch the leaves change.

October is when temperatures start to dip lower, so you’ll need to begin to wear a jacket.

November

November is the start of winter. Expect the first snowfall by mid-November.

December

December is a fun time, with Christmas spirits high in Canada. Since Santa is a Canadian citizen, we take it very seriously.

What is the Bet Time to Visit Toronto (From a Local!)

Spring (March to May)

Spring in Toronto is less that period of rebirth you see in medieval tales or Disney cartoons. It’s more damp air, wearing shorts in 10C weather and mud everywhere.

We don’t have much wildlife in the city. The only rebirth we see is the restarting of construction on seemingly every city road.

That’s not to say it’s not worth visiting Toronto in the Spring.

Spring means that Lake Ontario starts to thaw, making walks along the boardwalk. People slowly emerge from our underground tunnels (yes, we really have those) to walk above the earth again.

We also refuse to believe that it’s cold. For some reason, the second temperatures hit double digits in Spring, we all break out our Summer gear. The same temperatures in Fall would have us bundled up in layers of fuzzy sweaters and wool socks.

Temperatures rise towards April, but don’t really pick up until May.

If you’re visiting earlier, pack for unpredictable weather. Toronto has been known to suddenly decide to go back to Winter temps after a week of Spring weather.

April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, sort of.

Toronto does get rain in the Spring but not more than most other months. But the adage makes every drop of rain feel excessive. At least there are flowers!

If you visit Toronto in the Spring, check out the cherry blossoms in High Park or time your stay to attend one of Toronto’s many street festivals. Farmer’s markets and hiking trails are popular spots for Canadians in the Spring. Get your pride on at Toronto’s annual Pride Festival or hide from the crowds by going out of the city to camp.

Summer (June to August)

Isn’t Summer the best season to visit any city? Not necessarily!

Summer in Toronto can get H-O-T. As someone who doesn’t like temperatures above 21C, I’m not a fan.

The city is unfortunately humid and stale on especially hot days because of the smog. Often even the breeze is warm.

Now, this isn’t all Summer. Most of the season is very reasonable. Temperatures average 21C for the whole season. But those hot days feel like they last forever. The last two years have been especially warm with temperatures rising above 35C.

Rainfall is pretty much the same as Spring. Sometimes we get Summer thunderstorms that help break the humidity. But mostly it’s sunny skies during Summer.

The sun makes a beautiful mirror out of Lake Ontario. Parks and trails are speckled with people enjoying the warm days. Flowers are fully bloomed in Summer, making botanical gardens a lovely spot for a stroll.

Toronto is a great city to be in during the Summer. We know how to put on some pretty amazing festivals and events to entertain our massive population. From movies in the park to food festivals to firework celebrations, we’ve thought of it all.

Getting too hot? Hop in Lake Ontario or head to a public pool.

Hike beyond the city to get some amazing views and soak up those rays.

Or, if you’re like me, sit as close to your fan as possible and pray you don’t get sunburnt.

Fall (September to November)

Fall is hands down the best time of year to visit Toronto.

The weather is more temperate. You can wear a variety of comfy clothes. It’s still sunny. The leaves begin to change colour. There’s a crisp quality to the air. The pollen that plagues me all Summer begins to dwindle. And my birthday is in Fall.

Alright, maybe I’m biased. But it’s still a great season!

Fall in Canada is undoubtedly the best time to visit Toronto. Most tourists tend to come in the Summer, assuming that warmth is the most attractive thing. But they’re wrong.

Children are out of school. Camps are constantly running excursions. Adults take time off to enjoy the good weather.

Suddenly everything is busier.

But in Fall, the students go back to school. The parents go back to work. Most tourists filter out of the city. Lines begin to shorten and prices for hotels take a dip.

The weather is still pleasant. The crispness of the air makes Toronto feel fresh and unpolluted. Ruby, gold, and amber leaves pepper the streets.

Fall is a time of fresh apples and refreshing hikes. It brings with it Thanksgiving and pie.

Make the most of Fall by going apple picking or marveling at the changing leaves on country roads. Head downtown for the Toronto International Film Festival to spot some stars or curl up with a good book at a café.

Winter (December to February)

When you think “Canada”, you probably think “snow.” It’s a natural connection, but it’s not always true.

Toronto is warm 80% of the year. In fact, we’re more southern than some U.S. states.

But we do get snow.

Toronto doesn’t get epic snowfalls like the Prairies or the Maritimes, where blizzards regularly cancel daily life. Mostly, the city gets sprinkles of snow from late December to March. A few larger snowfalls stick on the ground, leaving lots of fodder for snowmen and snowball fights.

It also feeds a Canadian tourist attraction: skiing.

I think the ice is better. Toronto freezes so easily that you can make skating rinks in your backyard. But an easier route is to head to the city-run rinks, like the outdoor one at the Lakeshore and Kipling. They’re free to use if you bring your own skates.

Warm-up afterward with hot chocolate and central heating (a Canadian blessing I desperately missed in New Zealand).

For children (or children-at-heart), sledding is a Canadian tradition. Grab a sled and find any sloped surface, then you’re ready to go. In the Winter, public parks are full of children on plastic toboggans barrelling down the biggest hills they can find.

We prepare to beat the cold by hiding underground all day. Toronto’s downtown is full of an underground tunnel system called the “Path.” It runs through most of downtown, meaning that you can go through most of your day without going outside.

Winter also means Christmas, which now means Toronto’s Christmas market. The Distillery District has recently started hosting a large Christmas market, reminiscent of a German market. They host live music, hot drinks, trinket shops, and various other booths from mid-November to December.

The Dreaded Winter Temperatures

I bet you’re waiting for the average Winter temperatures in Toronto. Honestly, they surprised me. We average -3C over the Winter.

That’s not that cold!

Temperatures in Toronto do vary. Last Winter was especially harsh with temperatures into the -30s. Usually, we have a few weeks of -10C and a few colder days (usually from wind chill).

If you visit in the Winter, be prepared to take lots of warming up breaks. Walks that don’t feel long in the Summer are suddenly monstrous treks. It really slows down your tours of the city.

Verdict: When is the Best Time to Travel to Toronto?

So what is the best time to visit Toronto?

The Fall!

It offers the best balance of weather, activities, natural beauty, and busyness. You’ll get a good mix of warm and cool days, depending on what month you visit.

I recommend September or October to see Toronto while the leaves are still on the trees.

Fall brings a special air to the city that other seasons don’t have. I’ve never seen another country do Fall as well as Canada does.

Maybe it’s all the bright leaves or fresh air that seep into my brain and make me totally crazy for Fall. Or maybe it’s just the best.

Come visit Toronto and find out for yourself!

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