Canada's climate is characterized by its diversity, both from region to region and from season to season. While extreme northern temperatures climb above only 0°C for a few months every year, most Canadians live within 300 kilometres of the country's southern border, where warm springs, hot summers and pleasantly crisp autumns prevail for at least 7 months. Canada has 4 very distinct seasons: spring (March-May); summer (June-August); fall (September-October); and winter (November-February).

The daytime temperatures during summers can reach 35°C and higher. They can also be as low as -25°C. Moderate temperatures are normal in spring and fall.

Summers can be hot and dry on the prairies, humid in central Canada, and milder on the coasts. Usually, the spring is pleasant throughout the country. Autumns are cool and brought to life by rich orange and red leaves on trees.

Winters remain cold with periods of snow. The southern Alberta enjoys the occasional "Chinook", a warm dry wind from the Rocky Mountains gusting through and melting the snow. The western coasts feature mild and wet winters, in cities like Vancouver and Victoria. Canadians enjoy an infrastructure of heated houses to face the temperature drops during the winters.

Winter Survival Tips

  • Do not consider winter clothing a luxury. Invest in a good winter jacket, gloves, earmuffs or a warm hat, long johns, a scarf and boots.
  • Dress in layers so that you can adjust to the variable temperatures inside and outside.
  • Be sure to eat a nutritious breakfast, you will be warmer if your body has fuel in it to burn.
  • Prevent dehydration in cold weather and dry indoor heat by drinking water regularly and using a moisturiser on your skin and lips.
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen on clear days as sunlight reflecting off snow can be very intense.
  • Remember the wind chill factor. High winds blowing on a cold dry day lower the temperature further, so –20°C with a wind of 16 km/hour can feel like –25°C!
  • Be aware of the potential for frostbite. Ears, fingers, toes, or cheeks exposed to very cold temperatures for even just a short period of time can become frostbitten.
  • Pay your bills! Each individual home and some apartment tenants pay for the heat they use, whether gas or electricity. Students renting private apartments should be sure to verify if they are responsible for paying their heating bill and if so who their heating provider is. It is mandatory to ensure heating bills are paid on time to avoid having the service shut off.

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