Climate, Culture & Clothing
Ask someone from another country to describe Canada in one word and you might hear:
- maple syrup
Those first three words are common. Spending a winter in Canada is a definite experience, especially if you don't have a winter season with snow.
Canadians tend to claim they are best hockey players in the world. And there's certainly a hockey culture in Canada. We also play a lot of winter sports you probably haven't heard of before such as curling.
Our climate also requires certain types of clothing and footwear, most particularly winter coats and boots.
Because we are such a large country, the 2nd largest in the world by land mass, that spans the width of the continent climate vary from east to west and north to south. Your cousin in Vancouver or uncle in Montreal will have different experiences based on where they live.
We are also a country mostly populated by immigrants. Since European began settling here in the 1600s, our population has expanded across the width of the continent. Canada still welcomes about a half million immigrants annually. A couple of the reasons were are known as a land of opportunity and diversity.
Our stunning geography and variety of wild animals make Nigara Falls or moose as common one-word definitions of Canada.
As a constitutional democracy, we are also known as a country with freedoms such as speech and religion.
And we have a reputation of being polite, especially for saying we're sorry.
Learn more about where you'll be in Canada.
Everywhere has 4 seasons, but in some places--such as the Canadian Prairies--those seasons are distinctly different from each other.
Our temperatures can vary over 70 degrees between the highs of summer and lows of winter. For example, winter can be colder than -40º C, with or without a wind chill, and summer can reach highs of over 30º C. Those are the extremes.
Don't let the cold get you down--we have lots of hours of sunshine, even in the winter.
And because we have winter, we do know how to have fun outside. Part of your experience here should include trying a winter sport.
Vermilion, Alberta and Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan are about 65 km apart, so their weather is similar.
- Environment Canada rates Alberta #1 for having the best overall climate.
- The average temperature range for the Lakeland communities over the last decade was between -19ºC and 23ºC. Temperatures are rarely below -31ºC or above 29ºC
- Alberta, summer temperatures normally range from 20 to 25 ºC (68 to 77ºF) can reach the mid to upper 30s.
- The driest and coldest months in Alberta are January and February. Normal low nighttime temperatures range from -15 to -25ºC (5 to -13ºF).
- Winter temperatures can drop as low as -30 to -40ºC (-22 to -40ºF) for short periods of time.
- Because of our location, we get a lot of hours of daylight in the summer, and it's darker in the winter.
- The shortest day is December 21 with about 7:30 hours of daylight.
- The longest day is June 20 with just over 17 hours of daylight.
- We're also known as sunny Alberta because we have the most hours of sunlight in Canada. About half of every day is sunny, and about 325 days of the year see sun in central Alberta.Typically Alberta has more than 2,300 hours of sunshine each year.
- Our winter weather forecasts often include a wind chill value. This tells you what the temperature feels like including the effects of the wind.
- Alberta has relatively low humidity, especially compared to central Canada.
Since the academic year includes all of our winter, you need to be prepared for the cold weather and snow.
A suitable coat, footwear, scarf and mitten/gloves are musts. If you've never had thermal underwear before, you also may be purchasing a set.
Typically, our climate is dry, rather than humid. This means a fall/spring jacket is a good idea. Jackets are needed because our sunshine is deceptive. You may think it's warmer than it is during the fall and spring. Summer evenings can also be significantly cooler than daytime.
You may also need particular clothing or footwear for your program. Steel-toed boots are one example for energy, environment and agriculture programs.
For more information, see the what to wear page.
Canadian geography & population
Canada is the 2nd largest country on the globe, but far from that mark by population. Our population of 38 million is small compared to the other 2 countries in North America. The United States population is about 10 times larger and Mexico is more than 3 times as populated.
Most Canadians live close to the US border..About 80% of Canada isn't occupied by people. The reason is our geography.
Canada has 5 major geographic areas:
- the West Coast - includes a coastal mountain range and the Rocky Mountains. All of the province of British Columbia is in this region.
- the Prairies - while the south is flatter and drier, the central and northern prairies have more hills and trees. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are in this region
- the Canadian Shield - is bordered by Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Vast areas are treeds with small lakes and rivers, and very few people. Most people live in the Great Lakes - St Lawrence lowlands. This includes the cities of Toronto and Montreal. Canada's largest provinces are in this region: Ontario and Quebec.
- the Atlantic Coast - is part of the North American Appalachian region of rocky coasts and forested interiors. Provinces in this regional include New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on the main land plus Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland (an island) & Labrador (northwest tip of Quebec)
- the North - from west to east include 3 territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The Yukon's geography is more like West Coast but is also rocky and barren with sparse vegetation.
Our federation was formed in 1867 with just 4 provinces. Today Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories.
Canada's Indigenous people's include Inuit, First Nations and Métis. Many different tribal nations lived in Canada's many regions. Métis have mixed European and Indigenous ancestry. Indigenous people are about 5% of Canada's population.
European migration to what became Canada began to grow in the 1600s. Mass immigration to the Canadian Prairies was 300 years later.
The area where Lakeland is located was mostly populated by European settlers in the early 1900s. Many
Canadian culture is a very authentic and unique/
Canadian’s can be looked at for our taste in food, sports, music, television, and more but those are all things that make Canadian culture so special. Our culture has been influenced by countries all over the world and showcases Canadian pride, our diversity and our own distinctive elements.
During your time in Canada, you will learn about our signature foods, music, sports and the wonderful things that makes Canada so great.