April is right on the cusp of winter and spring in Canada. Some parts of the country will still feel wintery, with snow sports possible, while others are thawing. Canada is an enormous country, so it's not possible to generalize about the weather, but coastal areas are usually milder than inland areas, and the further north you travel, the colder temperatures will be. One advantage of April is that days continue to lengthen, even when temperatures still feel like winter.
For example, Québec City in eastern Canada, not far inland, has an average minimum April temperature of 34°F (1°C) and a maximum of 48°F (9°C). Toronto, which is further inland but on Lake Ontario, has a minimum average temperature of 37°F (3°C) and a maximum of 52°F (11°C). On the other side of Canada, inland Calgary is similar, with an average minimum of 32°F (0°C) and a maximum of 53°F (12°C). Meanwhile, coastal Vancouver is a little warmer, with an average minimum of 43°F (6°C) and a maximum of 55°F (13°C).
Crowds & Costs
April is shoulder season for travel to Canada. In some parts of the country, such as the Rocky Mountains, ski season is still going, although it's important to check local conditions in your preferred destination. With thawing conditions in towns and cities, you'll see a few other tourists around, especially in places like Toronto and Vancouver, where there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy. Smaller tourist towns inland that aren't connected to snow sports may still be shut up for the winter, but coastal areas are more likely to be open.
Where to Go
Coastal British Columbia is a great place to visit in April as the climate there is milder than in some other places, albeit wet. If you enjoy museums and restaurants, then Vancouver is a good choice, but to get outdoors and explore the landscape, head to Vancouver Island (with a raincoat!). Enjoy the thriving arts scene in Nanaimo, go whale watching off the west coast, hike in the forested national and provincial parks (such as Goldstream or Strathcona Provincial Parks), soak in natural hot springs at Hot Springs Cove in Clayoquot Sound, and visit Victoria, British Columbia's capital. Vancouver Island is a 1.5/2-hour ferry journey from Vancouver.
On the other side of the country, if you're in the Toronto area this month, head west to the small town of Elmira for its annual Maple Syrup Festival. The maple leaf is Canada's national symbol (appearing on the flag), and maple syrup is a must-try sweet treat when traveling to Canada. Elmira's festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors who come to enjoy maple syrup tasting and much more, including tractor wagon tours, toffee making, log sawing competitions, and art and craft displays. Elmira is about a 90-minute drive from Toronto.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
One great thing about traveling to Canada in April is the opportunity to combine winter sports with summer sports, especially in British Columbia. Hit the slopes for skiing, snowboarding, or tubing in the Rocky Mountains, inland in the province. Then head to the coast for kayaking adventures, as waterways will mostly be thawed and comfortable for water sports. Quadra Island is a great under-the-radar destination between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Spot orcas and bears and enjoy views of misty pine forests as you paddle through Johnstone Strait, Desolation Sound, and the Discovery Islands.
Iceberg viewing is an activity unique to spring and early summer in Canada, and one of the best places to do so is the Bay of Chaleur in northeastern New Brunswick. The sea freezes over in winter, and then when it thaws, which can start in March, chunks of ice break off and float down the coast. Locals enjoy the activity as much as tourists as it heralds the arrival of warmer weather. You can join tours by boat or watch the spectacle from land, too. New Brunswick is quite easy to reach from Montréal and Québec City, but if you want to travel to a more remote area, there's great iceberg viewing in Newfoundland and Labrador, too.
Events in April
Easter, nationwide. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are public holidays throughout Canada, so expect business closures. While Easter Monday isn't an official holiday, many people take this day off, and businesses remain closed. Easter can fall in March or April.
Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, Elmira. Canada holds the title of the world's largest exporter of maple syrup. You can enjoy a variety of local vendors, tastes, and outdoor trails while learning about the history of maple harvesting in Canada.
World Ski & Snowboard Festival, Whistler. An annual celebration of skiing, music, and ski/snowboard culture with competitions, performances, and big-time parties at and around Whistler ski resort and a chance to enjoy some sunny spring skiing.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Vancouver. Vancouver is awash with the pink blossoms of cherry trees in parks across the city, with concerts, picnics, bike tours, and Japanese cultural performances to celebrate the scene.
Traveling to Canada in April? Check out these great itineraries
Sunshine Coast & Pacific Rim Road Trip - 8 Days. Take eight days to explore the hidden coves and seaside communities of the Sunshine Coast before ferrying to Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island Road Trip: North Island & Pacific Rim - 14 Days. A great route to experience the diverse landscapes of Vancouver Island, from hiking through the backcountry, paddling endless coastlines, or relaxing at cozy retreats next to the beach.
More Helpful Information
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Best Time of Year to Visit Canada
How Many Days to Spend in Canada