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The Four Seasons in Ottawa

The weather in Canada can be quite an experience if you are not used to it.  The weather can be very hot and humid in the summer to well below freezing in the winter so you need to be fully prepared for both extremes.  Below is a little guide to help you understand what you can expect from the weather in Ottawa throughout the year.  One of the main benefits to having such drastically different seasons is that we can enjoy a wide varieties of activities such as skiing and ice skating in the winter then all sorts of nice outdoor activities in the summer months.


In spring, temperatures are mild and there is lots of rain to help the flowers grow. Tulips, lilacs, and daffodils are in full bloom. People start biking and rollerblading along the city’s pathways, and thousands of runners enter the Ottawa Race Weekend (link is external). Tourists from around the world come to Ottawa to enjoy the annual Canadian Tulip Festival (link is external)in May.


Summers in Ottawa are typically humid and can get quite hot, reaching temperatures in the high 20 degrees Celsius and low 80 degrees Fahrenheit. People escape the heat by swimming at one of Ottawa’s beaches. They also participate in different outdoor sports, such as soccer, baseball, and beach volleyball. On July 1, Ottawa celebrates Canada Day (link is external) with concerts and a fireworks display on Parliament Hill.

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In fall, the temperature drops and the leaves turn bright shades of red, orange and gold. People hike in Gatineau Park (link is external), which is about 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa and has over 36,000 hectares of forest and lakes. Many residents drive to local fruit farms or orchards to pick apples.


In winter, days are cold and temperatures can drop to 20 degrees below zero Celsius and 4 degrees below Fahrenheit. There is usually plenty of snow for winter sports and activities, such as skiing, tobogganing and skating along the Rideau Canal—the world’s longest skating rink. In February, people participate in Winterlude, an outdoor festival with concerts and an international ice sculpture competition.

Dressing for the Weather

Ottawa residents dress according to the season. In the spring and fall, most people wear pants and shirts, with light jackets for added warmth. In the summer, people wear lighter clothes like sandals, shorts, t-shirts, skirts, and sundresses. In the winter, Ottawa residents keep warm in heavy jackets, hats, scarves, mittens, and boots.