Mild winters are the most important factor in our ranking of the cities with the best weather, with seven out of 10 points in the category dedicated to the number of days above 0 °C. We also reward communities with dry climates, with two points dedicated to the number of days per year without rain or snow.
Maclean’s Best Communities in Canada ranks 415 cities across the country based on 10 categories: Wealth and economy, affordability, population growth, taxes, commute, crime, weather, access to health care, amenities and culture. In other words, there are a lot of different answers to what is considered the “perfect” climate to live in, subjectively.
Even though I'll never understand it myself, I do realize that some people love cold weather and snowy winters. In other words, cities with the mildest winters on average.
Rainfall, heat waves, and other meteorological events aside, if Montreal's -30 degree winters have proven to be too much torture for you, then these are the cities you need to consider. While chilly Canadian winters can be a lot of fun (think ice-skating on frozen canals, skiing down snowy mountains, or watching the Northern Lights dance in the winter sky), not everyone is willing to brave the frigid temperatures of the Great White North.
There's a clear theme to the destinations on this list: most of them are located in Canada's westernmost province, British Columbia. Although BC is home to some of the best ski areas in the world, many of its coastal communities benefit from warmer temperatures and mild climates.
While St. Catharines is warmer than other places in Ontario, it still gets pretty chilly in deep winter. If you want to escape the cold but prefer not to get caught in the rain, check out Kelowna, British Columbia.
In the summer, this is a popular destination for travelers: the weather is hot, and the lake is perfect for just about every water activity you can imagine. If you've got your heart set on visiting Canada's beautiful East Coast in the winter, the warmest city to travel to is Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.
There are lots of options for embracing the white fluffy stuff, from snowshoeing to cross-country skiing to tobogganing on Citadel Hill. A side benefit of visiting Halifax in the winter is that all of its attractions are significantly less busy than in the touristy summer months.
If you're visiting Vancouver in the winter and are desperate for a break from the gray skies and rainy weather, keep your eye on the forecast in White Rock. Then, grab a long lunch at one of the many restaurants overlooking the ocean before heading back up to Vancouver.
White Rock is the perfect way to get a much-needed dose of vitamin D in the middle of winter. When it comes to weather, St. John's, Newfoundland, is known for a few different things: it is the #1 windiest, foggiest, and cloudiest city in Canada.
When you're ready to dry off, head to downtown St. John's and check out the local shops, stopping for a coffee or tea to warm up. You can easily fill a day exploring The Rooms, a stunning museum celebrating Newfoundland's rich history and impressive artists.
And we’ve got a list of cities where the weather is, well, the least terrible. In rainy B.C., consider Balloons, where you can expect precipitation just 106 days a year.
In the cold prairies, Moose Jaw, Sask. It’s hard to avoid the snow in Quebec, but in l’Assumption, and nearby Valerie, just north of Montreal, you only have to deal with precipitation an average of 137 days a year.
Likewise, in rainy Atlantic Canada, Edmonton, N.B. To rank the cities with the best weather, we look at Environment Canada ’s climate normal data, which are based on three-decade averages of statistics on temperature and precipitation.
Living through a drought brings as many problems as living through a constant deluge of rain, so we reward cities that have few rainy days, but a total amount of rainfall that’s as close as possible to an ideal of 700 mm. The weather is worth 10 per cent of the main Best Places to Live ranking.