Ontario is an extraordinary province in Canada with so many dimensions to it. You can expect to see all kinds of wildlife, weather, events and colours depending on the season you visit.

Even though Ontario experiences a long winter, it still goes through a cycle of four distinct seasons – each one as remarkable as the other.

In this article, I talk through each season in Ontario. I also discuss when I believe the best time to visit Ontario, Canada to be. The best time to travel is a subjective topic and largely depends on what you expect to see and do in Ontario.

Spring time in Toronto, Ontario

What are Canada’s Seasons?

Before we get started on the seasons in Ontario, I want to touch on a broader topic of Canada’s seasons. Canada is prone to many stereotypes about its weather. Many people ask, “Is it always cold in Canada?” The answer is that in much of Canada, no, it is not cold all year round.

I cannot put a blanket statement of all of Canada’s seasons and weather because each province has very different climates. The weather in British Columbia differs from the weather in Nunavut, Canada’s northernmost territory.

You can find out more information about Canada’s provinces from the Government of Canada.

Peyto Lake in Alberta

Canada’s four most populated provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia) experience four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. Although, autumn is usually referred to as fall in Canada. During fall in these four provinces, you can expect to see an abundance of orange, red and yellow leaves spread across the landscapes.

Read more: Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip

Canada is in the northern hemisphere, which means winter is typically from December to February, and summer is usually June to September.

What is it like in Ontario in Winter?

It is true, winter in Ontario brings a long period of freezing weather, usually spanning December to March. Nonetheless, you may see some snow in Ontario as early as November. Plus, you can still expect to see snow and freezing temperatures in April. The benefit of early snow is that you could get a white Christmas.

The weather can easily reach – 14 degrees Celsius in January, February and March. The coldest month in Ontario is typically January.

An Ontario winter can be hard to endure if you do not embrace the weather. The best way to experience winter in Ontario is by making the most of winter sports and activities, such as skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating.

Read more: The Best Winter Activities in Ontario

There are some ice-skating rinks around Ontario, such as Nathan Phillip’s Square and Harbourfront Centre Rink in Toronto and the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

If you visit Toronto in winter, you may be wondering where the people are downtown. They are using the PATH, an underground network of pathways – this is how to travel in Toronto to avoid the cold winter weather. Nevertheless, the PATH does not cover the whole city, so you will likely need to walk around in the snow at times.

You need to wear appropriate clothes when visiting Ontario in winter to combat the frigid weather. My recommended shoes for winter in Ontario are Blundstones. You need shoes with good grip because the paths will get very icy and slippery.

Do not wear rubber shoes, such as Hunter wellington boots, when it is colder than -5 degrees because they could crack. However, Hunters are great for when the snow starts to melt and it is slushy.

I also recommend that you wear a coat that comes down past your hips and is down-filled. Of course, you should wear gloves, a hat and a scarf too. Read my article for more advice on what to wear in Canada during winter.

For inspiration on where to visit during winter, read this article on Ontario winter getaways. Or if you prefer to ski in British Columbia, read my article on Whistler vs Blackcomb or 18 things you should know about Whistler skiing.

What is it like to visit Ontario in Spring?

Spring is an exciting time to visit Ontario because spirits are high when the snow finally melts after a long winter. It is typical to see locals shedding their coats and opting for shorts or light jackets if the sun comes out, even though the temperature is still low.

I would recommend visiting Ontario from May onward if you want to avoid the snow. Spring tends to come later in Ontario than it would in England, for example. As I mentioned before, it is common to see snow in March and April in Ontario.

The blossoming trees that dot Ontario in spring are beautiful. Whether you are in the suburbs of Toronto, or even in the city centre, you will see these beautiful trees.

My favourite spot to see the magnolia trees in Toronto is outside the Trinity College building on the University of Toronto campus. Alternatively, you could visit the Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens in Mississauga for some lovely spring flowers.

What is it like to visit Ontario in Summer?

Summers in Ontario makes up for the cold winters in Ontario. In July, August and September, the temperature significantly increases. The average temperature in July in Toronto is 27 degrees Celsius.

You are practically guaranteed warm weather when visiting Ontario in summer. I would recommend booking a hotel with an outdoor pool in Toronto to enjoy the warmth. It can get very humid during the summer months, but thunderstorms help clear the humidity.

If you wish to explore nature in Ontario in the summer, Conservation Halton has some incredible hiking trails. Reservations are needed to visit these parks. My favourites are Crawford Lake and Rattlesnake Point.

For outdoor activities, such as camping, you should visit in mid to late-summer and into early autumn for mild weather and fewer insects. Summer is a great time to visit the National Parks near Toronto, such as Bruce Peninsula National Park or Rouge National Urban Park.

You can also consider visiting the well-loved Algonquin Provincial Park. You may see wildlife in Algonquin Park, such as a bear, a moose, or beavers. Chipmunks and loons are common in summer.

Read more: Yurt Camping in Bruce Peninsula

Read more: Backcountry camping in Algonquin Park

For outdoor summer dining, there are lively restaurants with patios dotted around Toronto or along Lake Ontario. In Toronto, Hemingway’s in Yorkville has a good rooftop patio for outdoor dining. Or you could try Spencer’s at the Waterfront in Burlington.

Watch out – the insects come out in droves in the summer in Ontario. You need to be aware of the mosquitos in Ontario from June until September, but they are most prevalent in June and the late afternoon and evening.

My advice is that you should wear mosquito repellent and light layers to cover up your arms and legs for the evening. Also, avoid wearing any scented lotions or perfumes because this can attract the mosquitos even more.

Summer in Ontario is a great time to go on a road trip because the days are long. Here are some suggestions on the best places to visit in Ontario in the summer.

What is it like during Autumn in Ontario?

Fall in Ontario is a beautiful season. The weather has not yet reached freezing winter temperatures, meaning you get to enjoy the last of the warmth. Not to mention the changing colour of leaves, from green to shades of yellow, orange, and red is incredible.

September to October is my favourite time of the year to be in Ontario. There are places all over Ontario where you can see the autumn leaves, but some do require planning in advance.

Algonquin Park is breathtaking in fall, but do not try to visit on the weekend because it will be very busy. Algonquin Park currently requires pre-booking a Day Use Permit for fall visits.

Read more: Best places to see autumn leaves in Algonquin Park

Autumn is also a great time to be in Ontario for the fall activities. Such as apple picking and going to corn mazes and pumpkin patches.

For apple picking, I like to go to Dixie Orchards or Chudleigh’s. If Chudleigh’s is too busy, you can try Wheelbarrow Orchards, a lovely and quiet place to pick apples.

Best time to Visit Ontario - Autumn on Toronto Islands
View from Toronto Islands

In my opinion, fall is also the best time to visit Toronto Islands because the vibrant leaves frame the skyline wonderfully. Alternatively, I recommend booking a stay at Deerhurst Resort near to Algonquin Park.

Read my article for more ideas on what to do in autumn in Ontario.

When is the Best Month to Visit Toronto?

The best time to visit Toronto is when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold, outside of peak tourist season. For that reason, mid-September to mid-October is a great time to visit Toronto.

When the weather is starting to warm up in June and children are still in school is another enjoyable time to visit before the city ramps up for a busy summer.

Each year Toronto hosts the Toronto International Film Festival in early September. It is one of the most popular events of the year, drawing in many international guests.

Therefore, if you want to visit Toronto in September and you do not have an interest in the festival, you would be wise to avoid those dates. Hotels prices sharply increase, and it is harder to get restaurant reservations.

Toronto also presents Summerlicious and Winterlicious food events each year. These food festivals involve participating restaurants coming up with a prix-fixe menu to enjoy Toronto’s food culture.

Where to Stay in Toronto

HotelDescriptionBooking
The Yorkville Royal Sonesta Hotel $$4-Star hotel with great views of the ROM in Yorkville (former Intercontinental hotel)Click here to book
Kimpton Saint George $$Newly renovated hotel conveniently located in between Yorkville and the Annex neighbourhoodClick here to book
Fairmont Royal York $$$A historic hotel in downtown Toronto, suitably located steps from the train stationClick here to book
Ritz-Carlton Toronto $$$What you expect from a Ritz-Carlton hotel: luxurious rooms, good service and a high price pointClick here to book
The Hazelton Hotel Toronto $$$$Extremely upscale hotel located in the exclusive Yorkville neighbourhoodClick here to book

When is the Best Time to Visit Niagara Falls, Ontario?

Niagara Falls in summer
Niagara Falls in Summer

A couple of factors help determine the best time of year to visit Niagara Falls. Seeing Niagara Falls in the winter can be spectacular; however, the wind chill will be cold. You must make sure you are dressed warmly.

You can also visit the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls in November and December.

Niagara Falls has its illumination show year-round, where the falls are brightly lit up each night. Depending on the season, the lights turn on at around sunset and turn off at 2:00 am.

Otherwise, summer in Niagara Falls is a lovely experience because you can combine it with a visit to the vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I also recommend dining at Pearl Morissette, a fine-dining restaurant and winery located 20 minutes from Niagara Falls.

In my opinion, there is no true best time to go to Niagara Falls – each season brings its benefits. However, I enjoy best visiting Niagara Falls in early or late summer when the weather means you can enjoy the extremely wet boat ride into the falls wearing a poncho. But try to avoid weekends or holidays when locals flock to the falls.

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls

HotelDescriptionBooking
Prince of Wales Hotel $$Hotel with a stunning exterior located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-LakeClick here to book
The Pillar and Post Inn $$Spa hotel located in Niagara-on-the-Lake with a high-rated restaurantClick here to book
Harbour House Hotel $$$A boutique hotel located in Niagara-on-the-Lake overlooking the Niagara RiverClick here to book
Embassy Suites by Hilton $Modest hotel with an excellent view of Niagara FallsClick here to book

Best Time to Visit Ontario

I have touched on all four seasons in Ontario, each one remarkably distinct. I will leave it up to you to decide when the best time to visit Ontario is, based on the goals of your trip. Nonetheless, I am going to summarise the advantages.  

My favourite month in Ontario is October. October is when the natural colours are flawless, and there are plenty of fun fall activities to keep you busy. Plus, the weather is generally quite pleasant. Fall could easily be seen as the best time to visit Ontario for these reasons.

Additionally, I highly recommend a visit to Ontario in the summer. It is one of the greatest times of the year due to the great weather, enjoyable atmosphere, and plentiful outdoor activities.

If you are into camping and hiking, you cannot beat a summer trip to Ontario. Stick to early or late summer for smaller crowds. However, be prepared for the mosquitos in early summer.

December is another fun month to visit Ontario because of the exciting run-up to Christmas with a potential dusting of snow. Even though the whole winter can be difficult to endure, visiting Ontario for a week or two in winter would be an unforgettable experience for those from milder climates.

It is best to avoid a holiday in Ontario in January, February or March, unless you are willing to take on the almost arctic weather.

Spring in Ontario comes with many benefits for visitors, such as reasonable prices, picturesque floral surroundings, and fewer crowds. However, there may be an unexpected dumping of snow in April, so pack your snow boots.

Let me know if you agree with my thoughts on the best time to visit Ontario.

Further Reading to Best Time to Visit Ontario

After reading this article on the best time to visit Ontario, consider my collection of articles on winter in Ontario:

For more information on where to visit in Canada, check out these articles.

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