Canada's Rainiest Cities

Wettest Weather

One in three of Canada's large cities receive a metre (39 inches) or more of rain and snow a year. Abbotsford, British Columbia tops the list with an average 1538 millimetres, about five feet, of precipitation falling annually.

But Abbotsford isn't even among the top three cities for most days a year with precipitation. That honour falls to St. John's, Newfoundland along with Saguenay and Sherbrooke in Quebec.

Where Abbotsford does excel is in frequency of rain. The Lower Fraser Valley urban centre averages 174 rainy days a year. That means nearly one-half of the city's days have a drizzle or downpour.

Below you'll find lists ranking Canada's major cities based on how much rain and snow they usually get, and the number of days a year with precipitation or rain.

The cities included in these rankings are Canada's 33 largest metropolitan areas. These are the urban regions that had over 100,000 people according to the 2011 census by Statistics Canada. The precipitation data are averages of weather measurements made from 1981 to 2010.

Major cities in Canada that average one metre (39 inches) or more of total precipitation, falling as rain or snow, a year.
City Inches Milli­metres
Abbotsford, British Columbia 60.5 1538
St. John's, Newfoundland 60.4 1534
Halifax, Nova Scotia 57.8 1468
Vancouver, British Columbia 57.3 1457
Saint John, New Brunswick 51.0 1295
Québec City, Quebec 46.6 1184
Moncton, New Brunswick 44.3 1124
Trois-Rivières, Quebec 44.2 1123
Sherbrooke, Quebec 43.3 1100
London, Ontario 39.8 1012
Montréal, Quebec 39.4 1000

The amount of precipitation a metropolitan area receives can vary considerably from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Topography particularly affects rainfall in the Metro Vancouver region, which sprawls across a flat river delta to the foot of a coastal mountain range.

The precipitation data given here for Vancouver are measured in the Oakridge neighbourhood of south-central Vancouver, where rain and snow amount to 1457 mm a year. A short ways south, at the Vancouver airport, located on an island in the Fraser River, the annual total drops to 1189 mm.

But a little to the north, at the base of Grouse Mountain on Redonda Drive in North Vancouver, rain gauges fill much higher. The North Vancouver weather station averages 2522 mm, well over eight feet, of precipitation pouring down a year. That site gets over twice the precipitation of the Vancouver airport, and nearly one metre more than Abbotsford.

Most Wet Days

Three of Canada's large cities see more days with rain or snowfall than dry days. St. John's, Newfoundland heads the list of most wet days, with 212 days a year when at least 0.2 mm (0.008 inches) of precipitation lands. Here are Canada's ten major cities that most often have rain or snow:

Average number of days annually with at least 0.2 mm (0.008 inches) of precipitation (rain or snow)
City Days Precipitation
St. John's, Newfoundland 212
Saguenay, Quebec 198
Sherbrooke, Quebec 187
Abbotsford, British Columbia 179
Québec City, Quebec 175
Vancouver, British Columbia 168
London, Ontario 168
Guelph, Ontario 167
Sudbury, Ontario 167
Kitchener - Waterloo, Ontario 166

Most Rainy Days

Some of the wettest cities have much of their precipitation land as snow. If we just consider rainfall, the rankings shuffle a bit. Abbotsford, BC with 174 rainy days annually tops the list of Canada's cities where it rains most frequently. Here are the seven major Canadian cities that typically have over 125 rainy days a year:

Average number of days annually with at least 0.2 mm (0.008 inches) of rain
City Days Rain
Abbotsford, British Columbia 174
Vancouver, British Columbia 164
St. John's, Newfoundland 163
Victoria, British Columbia 155
Halifax, Nova Scotia 143
Sherbrooke, Quebec 128
Guelph, Ontario 127

Environment Canada. Meteorological Service of Canada. Canadian Climate Normals. 1981-2010 Climate Normals & Averages.

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