Canadian Cities With the Best and Worst Odds in Climate Change

The effects of climate change are already taking hold across the globe, causing hotter temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns and an increase in natural disasters.

author By Shallyn Goodhead on 2023/04/11

According to Natural Resources Canada, these effects are being felt the most in Canada, which is warming at more than twice the global rate. Canada’s rapid warming is thought to be largely attributed to a loss of snow and ice, which leads to an increase in the absorption of solar radiation, contributing to surface warming.

In light of this information, BonusFinder decided to dive a little deeper into the statistics and uncover the cities with the best and worst odds against climate change.Ontario is home to around 40% of the overall population of Canada.

How We Calculated the Canadian Cities That Will Feel the Effects of Climate Change the Most

To find out which Canadian cities are most likely to feel the effects of climate change the most in the 2050s, we studied a range of factors, such as:

∙ Estimated mean annual temperature
∙ Annual number of heatwaves
∙ Average length of heatwaves
∙ Annual ‘very hot days’ (days where the temperature exceeds 30°C)
∙ Annual rain and snow days

A climate change impact score was then calculated based on these absolute changes. Using this score, we determined the best and worst places to live in Canada when it comes to climate change.

The Five Canadian Cities With the Worst Odds Against Climate Change

Canada Climate Map

Ontario is home to around 40% of the overall population of Canada. Unfortunately, it is also home to all five Canadian cities with the worst odds against climate change. These are the areas most likely to be hit hard by the effects of climate change, including extreme temperatures, severe weather and flooding.

Parry Sound, Ontario

1. Parry Sound, Ontario

According to data, the worst place to live in Canada for climate change is Parry Sound, with a climate change impact score of 80.2. Located on the eastern shore of the sound after which it is named, this town in Ontario is predicted to see annual mean temperatures rise by 2.16°C during the 2050s.

The number of very hot days (reaching over 30°C) will increase by an alarming 17 days per year, making up a total of 27 annual very hot days. Parry Sound can also expect 2.36 extra instances of heatwaves, each lasting around 2.58 days longer.

St. Thomas, Ontario

2. St. Thomas, Ontario

The Canadian city with the second-worst odds against climate change is St. Thomas. Home to over 42,000 people, this city obtained a climate change impact score of 78.74.

St.Thomas is a leafy city, known for its green open spaces and luscious forested areas. Unfortunately, the impacts of climate change on this city are predicted to cause mean temperatures to rise by 1.96°C during the 2050s. Alongside this, annual days of rain or snow will drop by -2.13.

Residents of St. Thomas can also expect a 2.61 increase in the number of annual heatwaves, each lasting around 2.37 days longer. In addition to this, the number of annual very hot days in St. Thomas will rise by 24, to a total of 46 days.

Brockville, Ontario

3. Brockville, Ontario

Located on the Canada-United States border, Brockville takes third place with a climate change impact score of 78.72.

Brockville is known as the ‘City of the 1,000 Islands’ is home to some of the world’s best freshwater diving. Many scuba-divers visit this city year-round to explore some of the 200 underwater shipwrecks.

These freshwater dives may just be a thing of the past in the 2050s as average temperatures in Brockville are set to rise by 2.11°C. The city will also see an additional 22 very hot days per year (creating a new total of 42 very hot days per year) and 2.47 more instances of heatwaves (each lasting around 2.49 days longer).

Huntsville, Ontario

4. Huntsville, Ontario

Huntsville, another Ontario city, takes fourth place with a climate change impact score of 77.22.

Located with excellent access to Hidden Valley Ski Area and Arrowhead Provincial Park, skiers and snowsports enthusiasts are well catered for in Huntsville. However, the impacts of climate change could threaten these activities in the future, as mean annual temperatures are set to rise by an alarming 2.16°C.

As a result of an additional 17 very hot days, people of Huntsville could also experience 30 very hot days per year by the 2050s. Residents can also expect 2.39 more instances of heatwaves (lasting 2.38 days longer).

Welland, Ontario

5. Welland, Ontario

The fifth Ontarian city at risk, Welland, takes the final spot in the Canadian cities with the worst odds against climate change, receiving a climate change impact score of 77.02.

Welland is located within a half-hour drive of one of the most well-known landmarks in Canada, Niagara Falls. This city is expected to see a mean annual temperature increase of 2°C in the 2050s, as well as an extra 23 annual very hot days. These additional extra hot days could see residents of Welland experiencing a total of 47 days over 30°C – that’s nearly an eighth of the year spent in extra hot conditions!

The number of heatwaves in this city is also set to increase by 2.59 per year, each lasting 2.26 days longer.

The Five Canadian Cities With the Best Odds Against Climate Change

On the flipside, some Canadian cities are looking to fare much better with their odds against climate change. Over on the West Coast, the following cities in British Columbia and Yukon are predicted to be impacted the least by the effects of climate change. These are the best places to live in Canada for climate change.

Campbell River, British Columbia

1. Campbell River, British Columbia

The City of Campbell River was found to be the best place to live in Canada for climate change, achieving a climate change impact score of 9.14.

This city is well known for eco-adventures and world-renowned salmon fishing. According to current data, Campbell River is predicted to experience a slightly lower annual mean temperature increase of 1.44°C.

The annual number of heatwaves remains relatively stable, with an increase of only 0.97 more heatwaves per year, though these are still expected to last for 1.57 days longer.

Campbell River is not completely immune to climate change, and is set to experience more than six extra very hot days (over 30°C) per year, taking the annual number of very hot days up to 12.

Whitehorse, Yukon

2. Whitehorse, Yukon

The capital city in Northwest Canada’s Yukon territory is the second-best place to live in Canada for climate change, scoring 10.2 on climate change impact.

Whitehorse is home to around 75% of the population of Yukon, a territory with a population density of just 0.07 people per square kilometer.

According to data, Whitehorse will see a mean annual temperature increase of 1.7°C. This will be accompanied by just over three extra very hot days per year, taking the total up to 5 days. Heatwaves are predicted to be experienced 0.5 times more per year, lasting for 1.5 days longer.

Squamish, British Columbia

3. Squamish, British Columbia

Squamish, British Columbia, is the Canadian city with the third-best odds against the effects of climate change, receiving a climate change impact score of 13.62.

Often referred to as the “Outdoor Recreational Capital of Canada”, Sqaumish offers world-class trails, rock climbing parks and a strong wildlife population.

The city of Squamish has better odds than most Canadian cities against climate change. A mean annual temperature increase of 1.6°C is expected in the 2050s — almost 30% lower than that of Parry Sound.

Squamish could also experience less than one (0.86) more heatwave each year, lasting for 1.63 days longer. The number of very hot days is also predicted to increase slightly, and 5 additional very hot days each year will take the total annual figure up to 8 days.

Courtenay, British Columbia

4. Courtenay, British Columbia

Courtenay, on the east coast of Vancouver Island was given a climate change impact score of 14.04.

In close proximity to more than 40 national parks, and home to many beaches, lakes and outdoor spaces, Courtenay is an outdoor haven.

This city is predicted to experience the smallest increase in mean annual temperatures, coming in at 1.43°C higher in the 2050s. It will, however, experience a predicted 7 more very hot days a year (taking the total up to 15 days – more than double) and 1.11 more heatwaves (lasting for 1.73 days longer).

Nanaimo, British Columbia

5. Nanaimo, British Columbia

Also located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, just under 100km south of Courteney resides Nanaimo, the fifth-best place to live in Canada for climate change. Nanaimo received a climate change impact score of 15.76.

By the 2050s, Nanaimo is expected to experience a mean annual temperature increase of 1.47°C, accompanied by 1.13 additional heat waves each lasting 1.83 extra days. On top eight additional very hot days could be expected, raising the annual figure to 14 days over 30°C.

The Effects of Climate Change on Canada

Higher Temperatures

The effects of climate change will see higher temperatures across the globe, not least in Canada. This is particularly prominent in the Canadian Arctic which is warming at around three times the global average.

Forest Fires

Canada is home to around 9% of all the forests in the world, and 38% of land in this country is made up of forests. Rising temperatures cause the dry, hot conditions that are a perfect concoction for forest fires. Extreme weather such as lightning and strong winds are also an accompaniment of climate change, both of which being contributing factors in forest fires.

Sea-Ice Deterioration and Rising Sea Levels

As a result of these higher temperatures, Canada is experiencing vast amounts of sea ice melting. Not only is this incredibly damaging to local wildlife, but also puts humans at great risk. To put things into perspective, if all the glaciers and ice caps on Earth were to melt, sea levels would rise by approximately 70m, causing every coastal city on the planet to flood.

Shifting Rain and Snowfall Patterns

Shifting rain and snowfall patterns can cause both drought and flooding. In recent years, events of flooding have become increasingly more frequent, and worsening in severity. Flooding puts both humans and wildlife at risk, and can also lead to the spread of disease.


1. BonusFinder carried out the following research to identify the Canadian cities with the most potential impact as a result of climate change. We analyzed spatial aggregations of downscaled PCIC climate projections by city/town obtained from the Climate Atlas of Canada to assess the nominal and relative changes in climate variables including mean temperature, number of heatwaves, and very hot days, among others.

2. Historical and projected climate data (using the RCP8.5 high carbon climate scenario) between 1950–2095 for 24 climate models was acquired from the Climate Atlas of Canada for almost 500 towns and cities in Canada. The variables collected include average heat wave length, mean temperature, number of heatwaves, very hot days (+30C), and wet days (rain/snow days).

3. The ensemble mean for each variable and city/town was subsequently averaged by decade. The resulting dataset was used to calculate both the nominal and percentage changes in each climate variable between the 2020s and 2050s.

4. Population estimates for Canadian towns and cities acquired from Statistics Canada were used to omit cities with a population smaller than 20,000 people, filtering the dataset to notable cities and towns in the country.

5. A normalized index score taking into account the climate variables collected above and sorted in descending order is then used to rank the Canadian cities from the most to least affected by climate change.

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