Bright sunshine is what many Canadians are missing, particularly in the winter months. If you’re looking for sunny weather, what province in Canada has the highest number of bright sunshine hours? Here’s the answer exploring the sunniest places in the country.
Here’s the Sunniest Province in Canada
I wrote an article on the sunniest cities in Canada, researching the number of annual sunshine hours for the largest cities in each of the provinces and territories.
The sunniest city was Medicine Hat in southern Alberta. But Medicine Hat isn’t the only place in Alberta that enjoys plenty of sunshine hours. In the top10 sunniest places in Canada, five are in Alberta. They’re Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Calgary (the sunniest big city in Canada), Edmonton, and Grande Prairie.
Medicine Hat and Lethbridge in particular (and other smaller towns in the semi-arid Palliser’s Triangle) enjoy the highest amount of bright sunshine hours. It’s 2,544 and 2,507 sunshine hours respectively which is plenty of bright sunlight, particularly compared to the average sunshine hours in Canada. The numbers of sunshine hours in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge are comparable to cities like Houston, Mexico City, Barcelona, or Sydney.
In comparison, Calgary, the third sunniest place in Canada, records 2,396 hours of bright sunshine. Winnipeg, the sunniest city in a province other than Alberta, gets 2,353 hours. Regina and Saskatoon, next non-Albertan cities, get 2,318 and 2,268 respectively. Then we have Windsor in Ontario that gets 2,261 and Victoria in British Columbia that gets 2,193.
This makes Alberta by far the sunniest province in Canada. Note that while this province is the sunniest in Canada, it gets most sunshine hours in the summer season. In the winter, while sunnier than other cities in Canada, it gets about three times less sun than in the warmest months.
How Big Is the Improvement If You Live in the Sunniest Province?
If you were to live in Medicine Hat in Alberta, you’d enjoy:
- 148 hours of bright sunshine more than in Calgary,
- 191 hours of bright sunshine more than in Winnipeg,
- 276 hours of bright sunshine more than in Saskatoon,
- 283 hours of bright sunshine hours more than in Windsor,
- 351 hours of bright sunshine hours more than in Victoria.
Assuming that theoretically there are 4,380 daylight hours for any point on Earth, the five sunniest cities in Alberta enjoy on average about 55% of possible sunshine hours. For comparison, the five sunniest cities in British Columbia would get sun about 46% of the time.
The improvement is thus noticeable and will sure have a big impact on your well-being if you’re craving more annual bright sunshine.
Provinces and Territories Ranked by Annual Bright Sunshine Hours
According to my research based on climate data provided by the Environment Canada (Canadian Climate Normals), here are the Canadian provinces and territories ranked by how sunny they are. As I mentioned, cloud cover varies depending on the time of the year. So while a given province may be less sunny overall, it may have sunnier winters than an otherwise sunnier province year round.
I collected data only for major cities and not entire regions, so treat it more as a suggestion where a sunny day is most likely than a rigorous scientific paper. The regions are ranked by the sunniest places in each of them (it’s not an average of all the cities in each province).
5. British Columbia
7. New Brunswick
8. Nova Scotia
9. Northwest Territories
11. Prince Edward Island
12. Newfoundland and Labrador
What Province Is the Sunniest and the Warmest?
I wrote an article on cities with the best weather in Canada. Overall, if you wanted to enjoy the highest number of sunshine hours but also the warmest temperatures, Ontario (Windsor) or British Columbia (Victoria) would win over Alberta.
Windsor gets 2,261 hours of sunshine a year, making it the eight sunniest city in Canada. Its average temperatures make it the tenth warmest city in Canada.
Victoria gets 2,193 hours of sunshine a year, making it the tenth sunniest city in Canada. Its average temperatures place it eighth.
Depending on whether you want more hours of sunshine or milder temperatures year round, Windsor or Victoria would be your best choices for the most favorable climate in Canada. Medicine Hat, while by far the sunniest, can get very cold in the winter months.
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