Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Are Vancouver summers cold?"

An odd question to post on my blog, no doubt, but strangely it's one of the top Google search inquiries that leads people to my blog. So why not devote a whole post to it? There's obviously enough demand for the answer!

Are Vancouver summers cold?

In a word, no.

In more words, it depends.

It depends on your definition of cold. It's all relative, isn't it? A summer in Vancouver is going to be colder than spending a summer in Tahiti, Cuba, Sri Lanka or Colombia... but that doesn't make Vancouver's summer cold. Or does it? Vancouver's summer is rarely scorching, but it's typically not defined as being "cold".

Here are the more common terms used to describe a Vancouver summer:


Vancouver's summers (and summer is tradionally thought of as June, July, August, and September here, by the way) are for the most part in the low to mid 20's Celsius range (which is 68 to 77 Fahrenheit, apparently). Occasionally there will be a day or two where it can reach in the low 30's Celsius range (which is low 90's Fahrenheit), but those are rare, but do occur in July and August.

Sure, those temperatures are going to be colder than some place like Death Valley where there's a constant 40 Celsius/100 Fahrenheit range throughout the summer. Or they're going to be colder than some place like Toronto which might get more humidity and heat in the summer months. But that doesn't make it cold. What it does mean is that you're not suffering through the summer in Vancouver. You're not dependent upon air conditioning. You're not cooping yourself indoors to avoid heatstroke or humidity. You can actually be outside and enjoy it.

"But what about all that Vancouver rain?", you ask.

We don't get much rain in the summer. Sunshine is not as elusive in the summer as it would be in the winter months. In fact, there's so much sunshine in Vancouver in the summer, that it often causes droughts, where water restrictions come into play.

"And in a rainforest zone?" you ask.

It's true.

Vancouver's summers are beautiful. It's when the city truly shines. It's when people break out into summer dresses and t-shirts and shorts and sandals and go swimming in outdoor pools and hang out all day and night at the beach and get sunburns if not protected...

That's a Vancouver summer.

So are Vancouver summers cold?

In a word, no...

... and man, am I ever looking forward to summer!


Colene said...

Nice post :)

Even though I've lived here in my entire life, I am always surprised by how cool (not cold) it is in May. I keep expecting it to be in the low 20's already. Clearly, I am anxious for more sunny days.

Robyn said...

Thanks Colene! :) I know what you mean about May. And sometimes even June can be cool, wet, etc., but it teases us with glimpses of summer (ie: last week). Last night felt like November though! It was brrrrr...

Robyn said...

Hey Grant-Grey, thanks for the message. I'll be sure to check out your blog. Thanks for visiting!

Unknown said...

Hey Robyn, I was in Vancouver last summer when it was really warm - in fact I've visited Vancouver now three times in summer and each time it has been really nice weather - until last summer and unseasonably hot - with that spectacular storm the night of the fireworks - poor fireworks people being overshadowed by the storm - that was some weather alright!

Sue - Reading UK

SweaterFreak said...

search for "cold summer" in vancouver lead me to your blog on google.
Have lived in Van for 14 years now, the summers here are generally not what I would call warm. 22C is not warm, it's not cold either though, so I guess it depends on your definition of "warm". For me warm means not wearing a jacket - and so far this summer this hasn't happened yet. In fact this summer is not even 22C, more like 16C - which is neither warm nor pleasant and definitely not perfect:) I will give it time of course, but something tells me that this summer will suck big time.

Robyn said...

Besides the last few days, how would you rate the summer now?

SweaterFreak said...

Hi Robyn

Last summer was crap. It started on July 5th and ended on august 30th. WIth one week in the middle being absolutely crappy rainy and cold. I mean, there were few warm days, but overall it was a huge disappointment to me after long gloomy fall-winter-spring. Looks like this summer will follow a similar path.

I would say that Vancouver summers are cold because they would appear so to the majority of people on this planet. Temps rarely go over 25C and the constant breeze cools it off even more. So no, summer here aside from few days is pretty cool (as in cold not hip).
There are few exceptions, such as summer of 2009 - but it happens once a decade.

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Unknown said...

Even though Vancouver is in Canada the summer can still get pretty warm. I'm sure there will still be a need to have air conditioning in Vancouver for those days that do get up to 30 degrees Celsius.

alessio54321 said...

Niagara ontario is usually always hot in the summer with highs 26-32 being common and heatwaves even hitting 33-35 mark sometimes.

alessio54321 said...

Niagara ontario is usually always hot in the summer with highs 26-32 being common and heatwaves even hitting 33-35 mark sometimes.