Toronto and Vancouver are two of the most prominent cities in Canada. With similarities in the standard of living, economic opportunities, and more, both seem like an excellent option for anyone planning to live in Canada. But when it comes to weather, Vancouver is a warmer place. So, why is Toronto colder than Vancouver?
Toronto is colder than Vancouver because of its inland location. Vancouver’s position near the Pacific Ocean and its proximity to mountains keep it warm. While the city gets lesser snowfall and almost similar sunshine hours with Toronto, it gets way more annual rainfall. Toronto cold is usually dry.
Regardless of the differences, both cities are similar in other qualities. Here, we compare the weather conditions in Toronto and Vancouver.
Why is Vancouver Warm?
Vancouver gets its warmth due to its location right beside the Pacific Ocean. While many would think that is next to the sea would cause cold, it does the opposite. This is because water is a great insulator capable of retaining heat. In addition, the Kuroshio current brings warm waters from East Indies into this side of North America. All these ensure that the temperature in Vancouver doesn’t get too cold or too hot compared to Toronto and other inland cities.
The occurrence that makes Vancouver warmer than Toronto is common to all coastal areas. Beyond that, the mountains surrounding the city also offer it natural protection from cold winds that could be coming from any other direction. As a result, the winter temperature in Vancouver rarely goes lower than 1 degree Celsius. It’s only for about two nights during the year that temperature drops as low as –10 degrees Celsius.
But Toronto is more prone to weather fluctuations which means it gets icy in the winter and very warm in the summer. The summer temperature here is usually around 35 degrees Celsius, and in the winter, it can drop as low as –30 degrees Celsius. But these are rare cases, and the average temperature is around –4.6 degrees Celsius. Thus, Toronto weather is still one of the most comfortable you’ll get in the country.
Differences in Weather Conditions of Toronto and Vancouver
The difference between Toronto and Canada isn’t limited to the weather conditions. There are other differences. Here, we look at the different weather conditions in each city.
When it comes to rain, Vancouver sees more precipitation annually than Toronto. The city is notorious for its rainfall. It’s the 9th rainiest city in Canada. November and December are the coldest months in the year here, with the average precipitation being 9.9 inches and 8.4 inches, respectively. The driest months in Vancouver are July and August. These months, it gets an average of 1.3 inches of rain.
On the other hand, Toronto is a dry place. The wettest month is September, and even then, the rainfall is only 2.1 inches. Combined Monthly precipitation for most months in Toronto for the first seven months is lower than Vancouver’s in November alone. So, Vancouver experiences wet winters instead of the dry cold of Toronto.
In terms of snowing, Toronto gets much more than Vancouver. What should have been snow In Vancouver comes as rain, and it lasts for about half a day before it disappears. But there are big snowfalls once in several years that could last for some weeks. The average annual snow in Toronto is 122cm per year. In the ten years between 2010 and 2019, the average snowfall per year was 100m. In Toronto, snow starts falling by November but can come before that. The year’s last snowfall is in April, but you might still see some snow activity in May.
Compared to Toronto, Vancouver average snowfall per year. 2010 to 2019 was 24cm. The 30 year average spanning 1981 to 2010 is 45 cm. You’ll notice the first snowfall in the city is usually in December. But sometimes, it comes as early as November and October. Then it stops snowing by February or March. However, there are times when it snows till April. But even the snowfall exceeds 5cm per day. Major snowstorms with up to 10 cm of snow happen once or twice in the year. But major blizzards with 25cm of snow are very rare.
Vancouver has one of the most pleasant weather in Canada, including the amount of sunshine it gets annually. The city has annual average sunshine of 1940 hours, with July having the highest amount of sunshine at 289 hours. December is on the other end of the spectrum, with an average of 56 hours of annual sunshine. This means that in December, average sunlight isn’t up to 2 hours per day but in July, residents get over 9 hours of sunshine.
However, Toronto gets more hours of sunlight than Vancouver. Annual sunshine here is 2071 hours. July is also the hottest month with 280 hours of sunshine, and December has the lowest with 78 hours on average. If sunshine is a consideration for you, any of the two cities is appropriate.
Similarities between Vancouver
Apart from the climate and size, there are several similarities between the two cities. Here are some of them:
Both Toronto and Vancouver are multicultural cities. You’ll find all kinds of groups here regarding cultural, social, or ethnic backgrounds. While Toronto is more diverse due to its larger size, both cities excel in how welcoming they are for newcomers. In addition, they are both economic hubs in the country, which helps them attract people from all walks of life.
2. Cost of living
The cost of living in Vancouver and Toronto is similar. Both cities are notorious for the cost of real estate and other living expenses. However, Vancouver is a bit more expensive than Toronto. But they’re both fine cities to live in with access to amenities and a safe environment.
3. Public transit
Whether in Toronto or Vancouver, the public transportation system is quite excellent. There are subways, streetcars, and buses to get you around in Toronto. Vancouver has SkyTrain and regular buses. Both cities are also bike-friendly, which means you can reduce your carbon footprints if you want to.
Toronto is colder than Vancouver due to the latter’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean. But sunshine is quite similar in both cities, although Toronto gets hotter. So if you’re thinking of where to stay in Canada, both are viable options.