Cities with high average wind speeds, known as windy cities, tend to have weather patterns that result in strong winds. These winds can significantly impact local environments and communities by affecting agriculture, transportation, energy production, and outdoor recreation.
Although living in windy cities presents challenges, it also offers unique advantages. Powerful winds can clear air pollution and lessen wildfire risk. They are a valuable renewable energy source, especially in areas with consistent and powerful winds. Windy cities may appeal to outdoor enthusiasts because they provide excellent kiteboarding, windsurfing, and sailing conditions.
To maintain safety in Canada’s windiest cities, proper infrastructure should be established to counter the potential adverse effects of strong winds. Implementing measures such as windbreaks, reinforced buildings, and resilient power grids is crucial. These cities should have emergency plans to tackle extreme weather events like hurricanes or tornadoes.
Explore the list of the windiest cities in Canada.
Windiest city in Canada
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, St. John’s is the windiest city in Canada. It experiences an average wind speed of 24.3 km/h. Churchill and Fredericton also experience windy conditions. Other windiest cities in Canada include Regina, Whitehorse, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.
Here are the top 10 windiest cities in Canada:
|City||Average Wind Speed|
|St. John’s||24.3 km/h|
|Quebec City||17.4 km/h|
What contributes to the windiest city?
We’ll judge the windiest cities in Canada based on these four criteria:
Wind speed is critical because it offers insight into wind strength and regularity in specific locations. This metric will pinpoint areas prone to wind-related consequences in cities with high average wind speeds, such as power outages, transportation disruptions, and structural damage.
Wind direction influences the local environment and the community in many ways. Cities exposed to strong winds from one direction could be at a higher risk of air pollution or dust storms. Wind direction is also essential to urban planning since buildings can minimize strong gust impacts.
Peak windiness accounts for the highest recorded wind speeds within a specific timeframe. This metric helps highlight areas especially prone to extreme winds like hurricanes or tornadoes. Determining peak windiness is crucial for infrastructure planning, ensuring buildings can withstand severe weather.
Wind energy has become an increasingly relevant metric due to renewable sources like wind power. Cities with higher average wind speeds and favourable terrain may be excellent sites for wind energy. Wind energy offers environmental advantages, like reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
List of windiest cities in Canada
- St. John’s
- Quebec City
24.3 km/h average wind speed
St. John’s is one of the windiest cities in Canada. Perched on Newfoundland Island’s eastern coast, this city endures mighty Atlantic Ocean winds. The gusts can whip up to a staggering 160 km/h.
St. John’s – Wind speed
Sporting an average wind speed of 24 km/h, St. John’s is one of Canada’s most breezy urban centres. These powerful gusts can dramatically impact their surroundings through coastal erosion, affecting the city’s infrastructure.
St. John’s – Wind direction
In St. John’s, the dominant winds come from the northeast. These mighty gusts usher in the area’s chilly air and stormy conditions while shaping local ecosystems—altering bird migration routines, and influencing other wildlife species.
St. John’s – Peak windiness
St. John’s has experienced extreme wind events, including 2010’s Hurricane Igor. This hurricane unleashed winds up to 160 km/h, causing extensive damage and power disruptions.
St. John’s – Wind energy
St. John’s has begun exploring opportunities to capture regional wind power due to its strategic location and abundant resources. Several proposed or ongoing wind farm projects are underway in the surrounding area.
22.3 km/h average wind speed
Churchill is one of Canada’s windiest cities. Its position amidst the Arctic-adjacent tundra exposes it to the nation’s most stringent weather conditions – raging winds and biting cold temperatures.
Churchill – Wind speed
With an average speed of around 22 km/h and gusts that reach 120 km/h, these forceful winds can drastically impact Churchill’s surrounding environment. They can spawn snow drifts and ice formations while wreaking havoc on infrastructure such as buildings and roadways.
Churchill – Wind direction
In Churchill, brisk winds from the northwest are predominant, blowing cold air and snow. Such conditions challenge residents and wildlife and mould unique features like the renowned Churchill Northern Studies Centre – constructed on stilts to shield it from fierce winds and permafrost.
Churchill – Peak windiness
Over time, Churchill has faced numerous extreme wind events. For instance, in March 2021, a winter storm with gusts reaching 146 km/h battered the town, causing structural damage and power outages.
Churchill – Wind energy
Churchill has immense potential to become a Canadian wind power hub – plans are underway to investigate the viability of a large-scale wind farm that could provide sustainable energy for local communities. The relentless winds and sprawling landscapes make Churchill an ideal candidate for harnessing wind energy.
21.4 km/h average wind speed
Perfectly positioned in the province’s southern region, Fredericton brushes against the United States border, allowing a continental climate. This diverse climate adorns the city with icy winters and balmy summers, accompanied by lively winds.
Fredericton – Wind speed
Although Fredericton’s average wind speed lingers around 21 km/h, markedly slower than its fellow Canadian cities, it can still muster stormy gusts soaring to 80 km/h. These robust winds leave their mark on Fredericton’s picturesque landscapes, damaging trees and powerlines and infrastructure like buildings and transportation.
Fredericton – Wind direction
Fredericton’s prevailing winds often sweep down from the northwest. These brisk gales chill the air during winter months, adding to snowfall reserves. Aside from transforming weather patterns, these northwest winds can also sway local ecosystems by influencing pollen dispersal and other fine particles in the air.
Fredericton – Peak windiness
While Fredericton may not experience extreme wind phenomena compared to other Canadian cities, it has undoubtedly had its share of forceful gales. For instance, January 2018 witnessed a howling winter storm that catapulted gusts up to 100 km/h through city streets, causing power outages and significant structural damage.
Fredericton – Wind energy
Wind energy sources currently comprise only a modest portion of the province’s power supply. However, more wind farms are materializing in concept and construction around Fredericton.
19.7 km/h average wind speed
Regina, the vibrant capital of Saskatchewan, proudly claims its title as one of Canada’s windiest cities. Situated on the expansive southern prairies, the city often witnesses mighty winds sweeping across its landscape, occasionally heralding extreme weather conditions.
Regina – Wind speed
Regina is known for its consistent high winds. With an average wind speed of nearly 19 km/h and gusts rocketing past 80 km/h at times, these breezes can significantly impact local infrastructure.
Regina – Wind direction
Prevailing winds from the northwest usher in icy Arctic air and sometimes unleash extreme phenomena like blizzards and ice storms. These winds can delay Regina’s transportation systems and air travel on bad weather days.
Regina – Peak windiness
In January 1966, an enormous blizzard struck Regina with wind gusts exceeding 160 km/h. The event caused widespread damage, trapping residents in their homes.
Regina – Wind energy
Regina has begun exploring wind energy as a power source. Given its prime location and abundant resources, Regina is an ideal candidate for wind energy production.
18.9 km/h average wind speed
Whitehorse is one of the nation’s windiest cities. Perched in the country’s northwestern corner, this city consistently contends with forceful gusts streaming down from towering mountains and sweeping across expansive plains.
Whitehorse – Wind energy
Wind speeds in Whitehorse average 19 km/h. In fact, blasts surging up to 80 km/h are no rarity, especially during winter. These strong breezes significantly affect the local environment by causing erosion and influencing wildlife.
Whitehorse – Wind direction
Westerly winds dominate Whitehorse’s weather, though periodic northwest and southwest gusts play a role. The city endures blustery conditions, chilly drafts, and stormy skies – particularly during winter when temperatures plummet to bone-chilling -30°C or lower. Nevertheless, these same winds can also be a barrier, stopping temperatures from dipping further.
Whitehorse – Peak windiness
Whitehorse’s extreme wind events occur during spring and fall when storms whip up gales exceeding 100 km/h. Such fierce gusts might wreck buildings and infrastructure or cause power outages. However, Whitehorse is undaunted by these challenges due to its effective emergency response strategy.
Whitehorse – Wind energy
This windy metropolis is vigorously exploring how it could harness this natural resource. Several locations within city limits already showcase sleek turbines – like the 60 kW one stationed at Yukon Energy Corporation’s Whitehorse Rapids hydroelectric plant.
17.8 km/h average wind speed
Edmonton is one of the sunniest cities in Canada. It is also notoriously windy. Ideally positioned in the northern segment of the province, Edmonton’s presence on the vast Canadian prairies subjects it to strong gusts.
Edmonton – Wind speed
Edmonton’s average wind speed is 18 km/h. While this may appear relatively mild, it’s essential to realize that this figure represents a year-round average. The city experiences significantly stronger winds at particular times of the year.
Edmonton – Wind direction
Edmonton’s dominant winds flow in from the west and northwest. These drafts introduce frigid air masses and snowy tempests to the metropolitan area, significantly affecting daily life for its residents.
Edmonton – Peak windiness
Over the years, Edmonton has experienced several extreme wind episodes. A memorable instance from 1987 saw a powerful storm deliver gusts reaching up to 137 km/h, inflicting widespread damage and interrupting power supplies.
Edmonton – Wind energy
As an ideal candidate for harnessing this renewable power source, Edmonton has explored the possibilities offered by wind energy production. Various wind farm projects have been proposed or are currently in progress within its vicinity.
17.6 km/h average wind speed
You may know Winnipeg for its diverse cultural tapestry, rich history, or close-knit community. Winnipeg also claims the title of the seventh windiest Canadian city.
Winnipeg – Wind speed
Winnipeg experiences an average wind speed of 17.6 km/h. Positioned on the vast Canadian prairies, it is exposed to powerful winds that occasionally intensify hurricane force. These gales can make winters particularly harsh with the formation of snowdrifts and blizzard-like conditions.
Winnipeg – Wind direction
Winnipeg’s wind direction varies significantly throughout the year. It usually flows from the south in summer, bringing warm and humid air. In contrast, frosty and dry Arctic air sweeps over Winnipeg as the wind shifts from the northwest during winter, making some days exceptionally bitter.
Winnipeg – Peak windiness
The pinnacle of Winnipeg’s windy weather typically occurs in the chilly months of January and February. During this period, sustained winds can soar to an impressive 50 km/h, with gusts reaching a formidable 90 km/h.
Winnipeg – Wind energy
Winnipeg’s gusty character makes it an ideal location for tapping into wind power. Several wind farms encircle the city and harness these strong breezes to generate electricity. The energy these farms produce is abundant enough to power thousands of homes, placing Winnipeg at the vanguard of renewable energy initiatives in Canada.
17.4 km/h average wind speed
Quebec City is one of the breeziest cities in Canada. The city endures powerful gusts sweeping through the river valley, especially during the autumn and winter. It is also one of the rainiest cities in Canada.
Quebec City – Wind speed
Quebec City offers an impressive average speed of 17 km/h. Gusts, sometimes reaching 100 km/h, leave their mark on the local landscape. The harsh weather causes erosion, affecting infrastructure like buildings and transportation.
Quebec City – Wind direction
Quebec City tends to experience southwest winds. These winds have a dual nature—they can usher in warmth and mildness during summer while dragging cold air and snow during winter.
Quebec City – Peak windiness
Quebec City has had its fair share of extreme wind occurrences. In January 2004, a fierce windstorm struck the city with gusts up to 160 km/h, resulting in widespread damage and power outages.
Quebec City – Wind energy
Quebec City is keen to explore renewable energy opportunities within its borders. Capitalizing on its prime location and abundant wind resources, the city holds excellent potential for wind power generation.
16.6 km/h average wind speed
As the bustling capital of Nova Scotia, Halifax proudly stands as one of Canada’s windiest cities. The Atlantic Ocean’s forceful winds dance through city streets, often reaching breathtaking speeds of 140 km/h. These winds combine with the harsh climate conditions during winter, making Halifax one of the snowiest cities in Canada.
Halifax – Wind speed
The city experiences a moderate steady 17 km/h breeze, ranking it among Canada’s windiest. This constant gustiness leaves its mark on the local environment, carving patterns into the coastline.
Halifax – Wind direction
Prevailing winds from the west and northwest sweep cool air and inclement weather into the cityscape, impacting not just humans but also local wildlife by influencing their migration paths.
Halifax – Peak windiness
Over the years, extreme events such as Hurricane Juan in 2003 have tested its inhabitants’ mettle with furious gusts up to 180 km/h. These instances emphasize Halifax’s need to lessen high-wind impacts.
Halifax – Wind energy
In recent years, Halifax has explored its potential as a choice location for generating power from blustery breezes. Several wind farm projects are proposed around Halifax, opening new doors to economic and environmental advantages.
16.4 km/h average wind speed
Calgary is renowned for its distinctive weather patterns – particularly its status as one of the windiest cities in the nation. Calgary frequently experiences robust winds, which positively and negatively affect its surroundings and inhabitants.
Calgary – Wind speed
Despite an average wind speed of approximately 16 km/h, gusts can reach a staggering 100 km/h during peak times. These powerful winds sometimes cause damage to buildings and power lines. However, they also sweep away pollution and refresh the city with clean air.
Calgary – Wind direction
Generally originating from the west and northwest, Calgary’s winds bring frigid temperatures and snowy conditions during the winter months. This impacts transportation, the local economy, plant life, wildlife, and insect populations.
Calgary – Peak windiness
Calgary has witnessed various extreme wind events – January 2020 is an excellent example. A fierce windstorm wreaked havoc on buildings and infrastructure while causing power outages for countless residents.
Calgary – Wind energy
Calgary is pursuing ventures related to wind power throughout the region. The metropolis’ geographical position and abundant wind resources make it a prime candidate for harnessing wind energy.
16.3 km/h average wind speed
Saskatoon is well-known for its fierce, frigid winters. The relentless wind turns even short outings into bone-chilling experiences. The city’s geographical location leaves it vulnerable to powerful gusts.
Saskatoon – Wind speed
Saskatoon has a typical wind speed of 16 km/h. The strongest gusts usually occur in autumn and winter, reaching impressive speeds of up to 90 km/h.
Saskatoon – Wind direction
Wind currents from the northwest expose Saskatoon to Rocky Mountain winds. These swirling gusts can lead to blizzards, ice storms, and tornadoes.
Saskatoon – Peak windiness
The windiest months are November and December, when wind speeds skyrocket to 130 km/h. These rough conditions often cause significant damage to property and infrastructure throughout the city.
Saskatoon – Wind energy
Despite its windy reputation, Saskatoon takes advantage of this natural resource by capturing wind energy on the outskirts of town. There lies a wind farm that efficiently produces clean, sustainable power for the neighbouring province. With 76 MW capacity, this green energy facility supplies over 20,000 households with renewable electricity.
16.2 km/h average wind speed
Vancouver is known as one of the most livable cities, most diverse cities, and most walkable cities in Canada. Yet, compared to its image as a mild and rainy city, Vancouver occasionally encounters powerful gusts, particularly during wintertime.
Vancouver – Wind speed
Vancouver ranks among Canada’s least windy cities, with an average wind speed of 16.2 km/h. This results from its Pacific Ocean locale and moderating influence on the weather. The city usually experiences its strongest winds from November through February, with 18-20 km/h the norm.
Vancouver – Wind direction
Vancouver winds flow from the southeast, sweeping in from the Georgia Strait. However, winter might change wind trajectory due to cold Arctic air currents, ushering in northerly or north-easterly gusts. This shift ushers in colder temperatures but also abundant precipitation.
Vancouver – Peak windiness
Winter storms mark the pinnacle of Vancouver’s wind experiences, dishing out 90 km/h gusts. Such powerful gales can lead to blackouts, toppled trees, and the wreckage of buildings and infrastructure.
Vancouver – Wind energy
Vancouver possesses enormous potential for wind energy. It benefits from a coastal location and a mountainous landscape that set the stage for efficient wind turbine installations. Recent years have seen local efforts to launch wind energy ventures; however, progress has been hindered by bureaucratic red tape and financial hurdles.
15.8 km/h average wind speed
Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, captivates visitors with its scenic coastal setting, attractive streetscapes, and historic architecture. While its stunning beaches and landmarks garner admiration, Charlottetown is also one of Canada’s windiest cities.
Charlottetown – Wind speed
Clocking in at an average wind speed of 16 km/h, Charlottetown is known for its ferocious winds. Windy days are widespread during the colder months.
Charlottetown – Wind direction
Charlottetown’s winds blow in from the southwest, influencing the airport runway alignment. Alongside these prevailing winds come blankets of fog, which can sometimes prove dangerous for motorists and pilots alike. But there’s a silver lining to these gusts—wind power projects in the area harness this naturally abundant resource.
Charlottetown – Peak windiness
Autumn and winter witness peak windiness in Charlottetown, as storm systems sweep through the region. Gusts can escalate to 100 km/h during these storms, causing power outages and wreaking havoc on buildings and infrastructure.
Charlottetown – Wind energy
As global demand for green energy grows, Charlottetown turns its blustery conditions into a valuable asset. Several wind farms dot the nearby rural landscape, feeding electricity into the province’s power grid.
15.5 km/h average wind speed
As Canada’s bustling capital, Ottawa captivates visitors with its vibrant culture and remarkable historical landmarks. Interestingly, it is one of the country’s windiest cities. This gusty characteristic creates the perfect opportunity for wind energy ventures.
Ottawa – Wind speed
Ottawa experiences moderate wind speeds of 15 km/h. While this might seem insignificant, it’s important to remember that this is just an average measure. Gusts can often be more forceful. The city is particularly susceptible to abrupt wind gusts capable of damaging buildings and infrastructure.
Ottawa – Wind direction
Winds typically sweep into Ottawa from the west, stopping in southwest, west, and northwest directions. The city’s valley is a natural conduit for these westerly winds. Since this topography is prone to unpredictable direction changes, residents are reminded to stay ever-vigilant about weather conditions.
Ottawa – Peak windiness
Winter months in Ottawa, mainly January and February, bring peak windiness to the city, with strong winds swarming amidst frequent snowstorms. These meteorological challenges make travel difficult and risky; residents should exercise caution during these stormy times.
Ottawa – Wind energy
With a breezy climate, Ottawa possesses immense potential for wind energy projects. Within its bounds are numerous wind turbines generating clean energy outside the city limits. This green power source presents an opportunity to temper greenhouse gas emissions while supplying sustainable energy for Ottawa’s inhabitants.