The three sunniest cities in Canada are Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Calgary.
Canada boasts some of the most livable cities in the world. But one thing it doesn’t have that much of is sunny weather. Still, if you’re fueled by bright sunshine and can’t stand cloudy skies, there are quite a few Canadian cities that offer ample blue skies.
In this article I’m going to tell you what the sunniest city in Canada is and provide a list of other sunniest cities in Canada.
I created my list by researching climate data provided by the Environment Canada (Canadian Climate Normals).
Below I’m listing the top 10 sunniest Canadian cities with most hours of bright sunshine in the country. Later in the article I also share the entire table with data for 49 major Canadian cities. Make sure to check my list of the warmest cities in Canada as well.
You may also want to read my article “What City Has the Best Weather in Canada?”
Top 10 Sunniest Cities in Canada
The top10 sunniest cities in Canada are spread across 5 provinces, with Alberta scoring 5 out of 10 spots. Here they are:
1. Medicine Hat, Alberta – 2,544 hours of sunshine a year
The famously sunny Albertan city of Medicine Hat is the sunniest city in Canada. Located in the Palliser’s Triangle, it features a semi-arid climate that gives the city dry weather and plentiful sunshine. There’s a reason why Medicine Hat is one of the most popular retirement cities in Canada (and it’s not only lots of sunshine yearly but also warm summers). If you need lots of bright sunshine year round, this is your best bet.
Note that Canada’s sunniest city may enjoy plenty of sun but it’s still cold in the winter.
2. Lethbridge, Alberta – 2,507 hours of sunshine a year
The second of the sunniest cities in Canada is also located in the semi-arid steppe called the Palliser’s Triangle. Lethbridge shares a similar climate to Medicine Hat and gets only 37 fewer hours of bright sunlight annually. It’s at a higher altitude, though, with the nearby Rocky Mountains giving it slightly cooler summers. If you want sunny weather but more temperate summers, this is a good alternative for you.
3. Calgary, Alberta – 2,396 hours of sunshine a year
The third sunniest city in Alberta is Calgary, the most populous city on this list. Like the previous two sunniest cities, Calgary also enjoys a sunnier climate due to being in the drier Great Plains region of Canada. The main difference in sunshine hours between Calgary and Medicine Hat is that the latter has more hours of bright sunlight in the summer. Calgary also has a humid continental climate while the previous two cities are semi-arid.
4. Winnipeg, Manitoba – 2,353 hours of sunshine a year
Winnipeg is the first sunny city on our list that isn’t in Alberta. The main difference is that Winnipeg gets long, severely cold winters, while Medicine Hat has much more tolerable and shorter winters. Still, colder temperatures nonetheless, Winnipeg has a very sunny climate for Canada standards.
5. Edmonton, Alberta – 2,345 hours of sunshine a year
After Calgary, Edmonton is the second most populous city in this ranking. While it has some of the coldest winter months in major Canadian cities, its coldest months are still milder than in Winnipeg (which is slightly sunnier) or Regina and Saskatoon (which have a slightly less sunny climate).
6. Regina, Saskatchewan – 2,318 hours of sunshine a year
Regina is one of two cities in Saskatchewan that enjoy more bright sunshine than the rest of the country. Curiously, the city, situated on a bald, treeless plain, has all of its 500,000+ trees hand planted. There were no trees in sight when the settlers arrived to the area in 1870.
7. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – 2,268 hours of sunshine a year
Saskatoon, the largest city of the province of Saskatchewan, has a cold, semi-arid climate. It has fewer hours of sunshine annually than Regina but its drier climate means lower humidity and a slightly more tolerable weather.
8. Windsor, Ontario – 2,261 hours of sunshine a year
Windsor, the only city in Ontario enjoying so many sunny days that it landed in the top10 of the sunniest Canadian cities, is also one of the warmest cities in Canada. If you’re looking for a combination of the sunniest and warmest weather in Canada, Windsor is one of the best options.
9. Grande Prairie, Alberta – 2,198 hours of sunshine a year
For Canada’s standards, Grande Prairie is a sunny city. But despite getting a lot of bright sunshine, its climate borders on a subarctic climate which makes it by far the coldest city out of the sunniest places in the country. Because it’s located close to the Canadian Rockies, the city also gets strong winds, which further impacts how cold it gets there.
10. Victoria, British Columbia – 2,193 hours of sunshine a year
Victoria is the only major Canadian city located in British Columbia that’s featured on this list. While British Columbia enjoys the highest temperatures in the country, the region as a whole isn’t as sunny as the sunniest areas of Alberta. Still, Victoria, like Windsor, offers one of the best climates in the country. It’s not only the sunniest city in British Columbia but also one of the warmest, with mild winters to boot.
If you’re researching the sunniest places in Canada but don’t want to give up mild winter weather, Victoria is your best option. It’s Canada’s sunniest city with a most temperate climate, never very cold or very hot.
Is the Sunniest City in Canada Located in the Sunniest and Warmest Province?
While Alberta is the sunniest province due to so many cities there enjoying plenty of sunny days, the province has cold winters. If you’re after the best weather, that is the sunniest and the warmest, there are other provinces that may get fewer sunshine hours but are noticeably warmer.
If you’re curious about these provinces, I wrote a separate article about the topic: What’s the Sunniest Province in Canada? In the article, I cover the difference in sunshine hours between Medicine Hat and other major cities in Canada. But I also tell which province is the best mix of sunny and warm weather.
49 Major Cities in Canada Ranked by Annual Sunshine Hours
I created the table below by researching data for the 100 biggest municipalities plus one biggest city of Yukon and the three territories (because they had no municipalities among the 100 most populous in Canada). The result is 49 of Canada’s large cities because many didn’t have any weather stations nearby that tracked hours of bright sun. Please check the closest geographically city then to determine if a given place has sunny weather.
|Saint John||New Brunswick||1947|
|Sault Ste. Marie||Ontario||1920|
|Prince George||British Columbia||1918|
|Charlottetown||Prince Edward Island||1827|
|Cape Breton||Nova Scotia||1817|
|St. John's||Newfoundland and Labrador||1633|
Frequently Asked Questions
Bright sun is most guaranteed in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Out of all the major cities in Canada, Medicine Hat gets the most sunshine: 2,544 hours of bright sunshine a year. Lethbridge in the same province follows with 2,507 sunshine hours. Other sunniest places in Canada get less than 2,400 hours of sun a year.
The sunniest area of Canada is located in the Palliser’s Triangle, a semi-arid steppe region. It’s home to the sunniest places in Canada such as Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Calgary. All three cities enjoy about 200-210 sunny days a year.
In my ranking of the top10 cities that get most sunlight in Canada, Alberta took five spots, followed by Saskatchewan with two. Consequently, the sunniest places in Canada are primarily concentrated in these two provinces. If you want to enjoy as many sunny days as possible year round, no province comes close.
The sunniest big city in Canada is Calgary, followed by Winnipeg and Edmonton. These cities get noticeably more hours of bright sunshine a year than Toronto or Montreal. They get 2,300-2,400 hours of sunshine annually. While globally they’re moderately sunny, for Canada standards they provide abundant sunshine.
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