November is the end of fall and the start of winter in Canada. Temperatures drop, turning rain to snow. But that's great news if you want to enjoy winter sports as the ski season starts later in the month. Wrap up warm and go sightseeing in atmospheric Montréal or Québec City, or head north for aurora borealis viewing. There's plenty to see and do in Canada in November.


November in Canada is on the cusp of fall and winter. Northern and (some) southern parts of the country will have snow, and temperatures can drop below freezing, especially at night. There might be rain to contend with, but as temperatures drop, rain becomes snow. Beautiful fall colors can still be seen in southern areas early in the month. 

As such a huge country, there's a lot of variation in weather conditions from north to south, east to west. Inland and northern areas tend to be colder than wetter coastal areas. In the east, the major cities are cold in November but not exceptionally so; Québec City, not far inland, has an average minimum of 28°F (-2°C) and a maximum of 39°F (4°C), while Toronto, a bit further inland east, has a minimum of 34°F (1°C) and a maximum of 44°F (7°C).

On the other side of the country, inland Calgary is a few degrees colder, with a minimum of 21°F (-6°C) and a maximum of 39°F (4°C), while coastal Vancouver is milder and doesn't have such a large temperature range, with a minimum of 41°F (5°C) and a maximum of 48°F (9°C).

Crowds & Costs

November is the low season for travel to Canada, as the weather is cold and days short. However, the ski season starts in mid-to-late November in many parts of the country. Accommodation and transport to ski fields in the Rocky Mountains and mountainous areas of Québec and Ontario will get busier throughout November as the season gets started, and prices will rise. 

Where to Go

The province of Québec is an ideal destination in November. If you prepare for the cold weather and dress appropriately, there's a lot to see and do. Montréal is a large, cosmopolitan modern city with excellent arts, dining, and shopping scenes. History enthusiasts will enjoy strolling around the French colonial Vieux-Montréal area and ducking inside when the weather requires; don't miss the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica. Other exciting indoor attractions include the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the Biodome, and the covered Jean-Talon Market.

In early November, you can see the autumn leaves in parks around the city, including Mount Royal Park and the Botanical Gardens.

Further east in the province, Québec City is completely different from Montréal but equally worth visiting. Founded in the early 17th century, the old heart of the UNESCO-protected Québec City has quite a European feel and looks especially lovely with a dusting of snow. Stay in a bed and breakfast in the old city and get around on foot to appreciate the stone architecture.

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What to Do

The ski season generally starts in Canada in mid-to-late November. If you want to ski (or enjoy other snow sports) but want to wait and see what the conditions are like after you arrive, it makes sense to base yourself in Vancouver. There are great ski fields nearby (at Whistler, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain, to name a few), and you can enjoy Vancouver's restaurants, galleries, museums, and shops when you're not on the slopes. Foodies can also check out Whistler's Cornucopia Food Fest taking place this month.

If you have plenty of time (and money) and want to visit a more remote part of Canada, consider heading to Churchill, Manitoba. The small town on Hudson Bay hosts the Polar Bear Marathon in late November. Participating in the extreme race might not be for everyone (the temperatures can drop as low as -41°F/-41°C, but are more commonly around -4°F/-20°C), but Churchill isn't known as the polar bear capital for nothing! Join a tour to see these animals safely as they move from their summer to their winter habitats.

Churchill is also one of the best places in Canada to see the aurora borealis—it's visible for about 300 nights of the year. Though, you don't need to travel to such a remote part of Canada to see the natural spectacle. Ontario's Manitoulin Island is a popular place to see the lights and is easily accessible from Toronto. Whichever province you're spending time in, head north and drive somewhere with little light pollution for a chance of spotting the colored lights.

Events in November

Polar Bear Marathon, Churchill. Race to the north to see polar bears, beluga whales, and the northern lights in polar bear country, Churchill, Manitoba. 

Distillery Winter Village, Toronto. Each year, the Distillery District in Toronto hosts a festive winter market. As you stroll the vendors' market and art galleries, aromas of mulled wine and warm cooking infuse the crisp air. Starting in early November, it continues until late December.

Cornucopia, Whistler. This late fall food feast on the streets and in the restaurants of Whistler Village celebrates the bounty of British Columbia and the talents of local chefs.

Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, Fraser Valley. Go wild in British Columbia's scenic Fraser Valley in this long-running fall festival that features guided bird watching, eco-tours, and tasty salmon feasts.

Traveling to Canada in November? Check out these great itineraries

British Columbia Circuit: Whistler, Shuswap & Okanagan Valley - 7 Days. A week-long road trip featuring British Columbia's Coast Mountains and the wine region of the Okanagan, starting and ending in Vancouver. You'll drive through Whistler, Sun Peaks, and then south through the Okanagan Valley to Kelowna and back to Vancouver. 

Northern Lights, Wildlife & Hot Springs - 4 Days. Spend four days in Canada's north, starting from Whitehorse. You'll see endless mountains, view Arctic animals in a wildlife preserve, soak in hot springs, and explore the mountainous landscape by dog sled. In the evenings, you'll head out of doors to watch the northern lights from the comfort of a roaring fire.

More Helpful Information

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Best Time of Year to Visit Canada
How Many Days to Spend in Canada