When to Go
Deciding when in the year you’ll be visiting western Canada usually depends on your own schedule, but the following thoughts may help you decide the best time to visit.
The high season for travel to western Canada is most definitely summer (July and August). This is the time of year when parks come alive with campers, lakes and streams with anglers, mountains with hikers, woods with wildlife, and roadsides with stalls selling fresh produce. Summer daytime temperatures in Vancouver average a pleasant 23°C (73°F), while hot spots like southern Alberta experience temperatures in the 30s (86–102°F) on many days.
Unless you’re governed by a schedule (such as traveling with school-aged children), spring and fall are excellent times to visit western Canada. While April–June is considered a shoulder season, in many ways the region is at its blooming best in spring, when crowds are at a minimum, the days are long, and lodging rates are reduced.
Fall (mid-September–November) can be a delight, especially September, with its lingering warm temperatures and a noticeable decrease in crowds immediately after the long weekend (at the beginning of the month).
The major cities—Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, and Edmonton—can be visited year-round, with some outdoor activities—golfing, biking, hiking, and more—possible in the dead of winter on Vancouver Island. Alpine resorts begin opening in December and most have seasons extending through April.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition