Which is colder Edmonton or Calgary?

When it comes to the great Canadian cold, few cities can rival the bone-chilling temperatures of Edmonton and Calgary. These two cities, located in the province of Alberta, are often compared for their frosty climates. In this article, we will delve into the debate of which city is colder - Edmonton or Calgary?

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Weather Comparison: Edmonton vs. Calgary

Both Edmonton and Calgary experience sub-zero temperatures and snowy winters, but which city takes the crown for being the coldest? On average, Edmonton tends to have slightly colder temperatures than Calgary throughout the year. The city's northern location and lower elevation contribute to its colder climate. However, the temperature difference between the two cities is not significant.

Factors Affecting Temperature

Several factors influence the temperature in these cities:

  • Geographical Location: Edmonton is situated further north than Calgary, making it more susceptible to arctic air masses.
  • Elevation: Calgary sits at a higher elevation than Edmonton, which can lead to slightly milder temperatures.
  • Chinook Winds: Calgary experiences chinook winds, warm air currents that can rapidly raise temperatures, providing temporary relief from the cold.

Climate Patterns in Edmonton and Calgary

Both cities have a humid continental climate, characterized by cold winters and warm summers. Edmonton experiences longer and colder winters compared to Calgary. The average temperature in Edmonton during winter hovers around -10°C (14°F), while Calgary tends to have slightly milder winters, with average temperatures around -6°C (21°F).

Differences in Winter Conditions

While both cities face similar winter conditions, Edmonton typically receives more snowfall than Calgary. The snow cover in Edmonton tends to be more consistent and lasts longer. On the other hand, Calgary experiences more frequent chinook winds, which can cause rapid snowmelt and sudden temperature fluctuations.

Impact on Daily Life

The colder temperatures in Edmonton and Calgary can have a significant impact on daily life. Residents of both cities need to bundle up in warm clothing, ensure their vehicles are winter-ready, and take precautions to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. Additionally, these cities have well-established winter sports cultures, with ice hockey and skiing being popular activities.


While Edmonton and Calgary both experience harsh Canadian winters, Edmonton tends to be slightly colder overall. However, the temperature difference between the two cities is not significant. Regardless of which city takes the title, both Edmonton and Calgary residents are no strangers to the biting cold and heavy snowfall that comes with living in the Great White North.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Edmonton and Calgary the coldest cities in Canada?

No, there are colder cities in Canada, such as Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and Iqaluit in Nunavut. However, Edmonton and Calgary are known for their cold winters.

2. Which city has the longer winter season?

Edmonton typically has a longer winter season compared to Calgary. The colder temperatures in Edmonton result in a winter that lasts from November to April, while Calgary's winter season typically spans from December to March.

3. How do the cities prepare for extreme cold weather?

Both cities have well-established winter maintenance programs that involve snow removal, salting roads, and providing public transportation options during extreme weather conditions. Residents are also advised to take precautions, such as insulating their homes and dressing appropriately for the cold.

4. Is it possible to experience colder temperatures than what is typical in Edmonton or Calgary?

Yes, during extreme cold snaps, temperatures can plummet even lower than the average winter temperatures in Edmonton and Calgary. Wind chill factors can also make it feel significantly colder than the actual temperature.

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