Toronto: when to visit – Lonely Planet

Canada’s largest city is as diverse, accessible and cosmopolitan as you’ve heard.

From culinary adventures to raucous sports matches and exciting cultural events, Toronto pleases visitors to Canada year-round. And whatever time of year you decide to visit, there’s sure to be something going on here.

The lakeside city has a reputation for frigid winters and steamy summers – but don’t let extreme temperature ruin your expectations of this beautiful place. Here’s all you need to know about the best times to visit Toronto.

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The fall shoulder season (September–November) is best for taking in spectacular colors

With pleasant weather, rich autumn colors and fewer crowds at major sites, we think fall is the best time to visit Toronto.

First, those trees: the justly world-famous fall colors of Ontario simply dazzle. Only an hour from central Toronto, nature lovers, hikers and photographers can experience the beauty of autumn on the Bruce Trail. For those who wish to drive even further afield, Algonquin Park draws nature-loving tourists every fall.

The weather during the fall ranges from cool to cold (45℉/7℃ to 36℉/2℃), with rare warmer days. Depending on where you go, crowds are generally manageable and not too busy. Yet if you’re visiting a destination known for its foliage, be prepared for more crowd density. Some bargains are possible, but prices remain high given demand from leaf peepers.

Kayakers in the water between leafy coastsSummer is prime time for exploring Toronto’s green spaces, like the Toronto Islands © HonestTraveller / Getty Images

The high season (June–September) is ideal for outdoor activities

Summer in Toronto is simply divine. Through the end of May and into September, the city bustles with activities for the intrepid traveler. Warm weather and sunshine make for perfect walks through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, while Toronto’s lovely beaches also beckon. For the health- and fitness-minded, walking through the city’s fabled green spaces, such as High Park or the Scarborough Bluffs, is a memorable activity. (Wherever you wish to travel in town, getting around is easy: Toronto is built on a grid, so both drivers and pedestrians find their destinations with ease.)

Summer weather ranges from pleasant to hot (you’ll find highs of 76℉/25℃ and lows around 65℉/18℃). Bring summer attire but be prepared for cooler days and evenings with sweaters or a light jacket. Crowds can be considerable, especially outside. The city welcomes its highest number of tourists in summer, making this one of the most expensive times to visit the city.

Families at a skating rink in a metropolitan areaIce skating at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Canada © Damion Rae Photography / 500px

The low season (December–April) is best for budget travelers

As the temperature plunges, Torontonians head inside to enjoy cultural, family-oriented and other activities. Always a draw, the CN Tower boasts impressive views of the city and beyond, while the Art Gallery of Ontario hosts impressively curated art exhibitions from around the world. For those who are not afraid of the cooler temperatures and want to spend some time getting some exercise outdoors, we highly recommend ice skating at Toronto City Hall.

Toronto winters are cold, with average temperatures ranging from 36°F (2℃) to 26°F (-6℃); bring a heavy coat and dress in layers. Outside, the weather keeps crowds sparse, while indoor venues fill up. Relative to the other seasons, this is the best time for those who want a vacation that won’t break the budget.

Photographer taking pictures of cherry blossoms in full bloom with white and pink flowers in High ParkToronto’s cherry blossoms in spring ©Elena Berd/Shutterstock

The spring shoulder season (March–May) is best for indoor events and activities

The weather tends to be unpredictable in spring, making it a great time to consider indoor events when visiting Toronto. A popular annual event in March, the One of a Kind Show offers a platform for independent sellers to showcase their wares. The annual Hot Docs festival highlights documentaries from around the world for film lovers every April. Near the end of May, the weather starts getting nice, with an average high of 63°F (17°C) and a low of 45°F (7°C). In other words, the perfect weather for watching the annual fireworks on Victoria Day weekend.

Spring weather will range from cool to pleasant. Bring a seasonal jacket with layers, including light sweaters and shirts. Jeans or heavier pants will guarantee comfort during changing daily temperatures. The number of visitors ticks up as the weather warms – and you can expect an increase in prices near the end of May as outdoor events begin.

Just back from: Toronto & the Niagara Peninsula

Enjoy a post-holiday-crowd lull in January

Just after the holidays is a good time for visitors who don’t want to navigate crowds. It’s cold outside, but there’s a lot to do indoors.
Key events: Winterlicious

A runner on a snowy path on Lake Ontario in Toronto, Ontario, CanadaThe cold and snowy weather during Toronto winters keeps all but the most intrepid inside © SUBIN RAJENDRAN / Shutterstock

In February, shelter from the cold at indoor events

No need for the February “blahs” when traveling to Toronto during the shortest month of the year. Indoor events attract locals and visitors alike.
Key events: Canadian International AutoShow

The green begins in March

From lively St Patrick’s Day events in various pubs and bars to food, music and cultural celebrations of the Emerald Isle, everyone can feel a little Irish every March in Toronto’s downtown core.
Key events: The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Canada Blooms, One of a Kind Show

Avoid the rain at April film screenings

April showers may bring May flowers, but don’t despair. There are a number of indoor activities for tourists who visit Toronto during this month.
Key events: Hot Docs Film Festival

The weather gets nice at last in May

The weather usually takes a turn to the warmer side during mid-to-late May in Toronto. It’s the perfect time to create your own itinerary of both indoor and outdoor activities.
Key events: Asian and South Asian Heritage Month, Victoria Day weekend

Marchers in the annual Pride Toronto paradeJoin the massive Pride Toronto celebrations in June ©mikecphoto/Shutterstock

June is for flowers and rainbows

Warm weather delivers greenery flowers, compelling visitors to check out the parks in and around the city. And joyous crowds flock to the streets for annual Pride celebrations.
Key events: Pride Toronto

July offers the best of Toronto

Who doesn’t love summer in the city? July offers the best of what Toronto has to offer, from walks through neighborhoods to parks, fine food, culture, theater and entertainment.
Key events: Summerlicious, Toronto Fringe Festival, Beaches International Jazz Festival

August is all about summer pleasures

As peak summer sets in, visitors to Toronto can experience a variety of events both outdoors and in, many within walking distance of each other. Take local transit to your destination via the city’s streetcars for a scenic view of vibrant neighborhoods.
Key events: Taste of the Danforth, Dream in High Park, Caribana Toronto

This photo shows a summer scene where district restaurants and bars have patio's set up allowing patrons to sit outdoors and enjoy a night out eating and people watching.With dreamy late-summer temperatures, September makes for a wonderful time to explore Toronto neighborhoods like the Distillery District © Steven_Kriemadis / Getty Images

Summer persists, then autumn sets in during September

As the weather cools down, this might be the best time of the year to enjoy some of the many outdoor events in the city. Some are even offered around the clock – a 24/7 opportunity to explore.
Key events: Nuit Blanche, Toronto Ukranian Festival

The fall foliage delights every October

Cooler heads will prevail as the cooler weather approaches. Fall colors bring leaf peepers into city parks and natural spaces outside of town.
Key events: Toronto Chocolate Festival

The holiday season kicks off in November

As fall turns to winter, Torontonians bundle up for outdoor holiday events or head indoors.
Key events: The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto Santa Claus Parade

Decembers are cold and delightful

The weather outside may be frightful – but Toronto puts on a slew of delightful events each December. The holiday season is in full swing in the city, and it shows. Visitors will have a number of choices as they plan a winter city getaway.
Key events: Distillery District Christmas Market


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