Skip to content

Dreaming of a white B.C. Christmas? Here’s what history tells us

Predictably, Environment Canada says snow is far more likely in Prince George than Victoria
Children hit the sledding hill off Mills Road in North Saanich near Victoria International Airport after a late-December snowfall in 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

Phrases like “smells like snow” are abundant these days, even in B.C.’s balmy capital of Victoria where odds are good that Christmas will be green.

Environment and Climate Change Canada forecasts weather seven days out, which means the soonest predictions for Dec. 25 weather will come on Dec. 19.

But for those who can’t wait, Environment Canada compiled some statistics, though what a white Christmas is might depend on where you hail from.

Researchers analyzed 67 years of weather records for 45 major centres across Canada and calculated the probability of having a white snow-covered Christmas Day.

In order to present the fun facts, lines were drawn in the snow about what constitutes a “white Christmas.” A plain ordinary white Christmas is defined as 2 cm or more snow on the ground as of 7 a.m. EST on Christmas morning. A perfect Christmas entails 2 cm or more on Christmas morning and snow in the air sometime on Dec. 25.

READ ALSO: Toboggan versus rat: Startling collision on Victoria road (with video)

A white Christmas is highly unlikely in Victoria with a 12 per cent chance according to data accrued over 67 years. Vancouver’s odds are even lower at 9 per cent but other parts of the province could see some white stuff. As one might surmise anecdotally, other major B.C. centres with data include Kamloops at 52 per cent, Kelowna at 64 per cent and Prince George at 90 per cent.

The meteorologists even went so far as to delineate change in frequency, divvied up by recent (1997 to 2021) and early (1960 to ’84). Victoria and Vancouver have seen little change in the changes of a white Christmas with zero change for Vancouver and 8 per cent increase in frequency in Victoria.

That’s not the same across the country, the change in frequency is markedly decreased for Sarnia, Ont. where it dropped 48 per cent. The chances of a white Christmas in that city over the 67-year period sit at 57 per cent. But the recent odds at 36 and the early odds at 84 per cent show a significant shift, one likely talked about generation to generation.

While the forecast isn’t out yet, there are great odds you can send friends and family in Winnipeg a cheery photo of Christmas Day spent on the golf greens. There’s a 99 per cent chance they’re looking out at snow and even have an 11 per cent chance of a “perfect Christmas.”

READ ALSO: 25 years since the Blizzard of ‘96

The only places pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas based on the Environment Canada stats compiled over 67 years are Iqaluit, Kenora, Ont., Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

If folks are dreaming of a white Christmas in Calgary, Alta., Toronto (GTA), Ont. or Halifax, N.S. they may just keep dreaming. Between the warmer than normal winter and odds at 61 per cent, 51 and 52 respectively.

Predictably, Vancouver and Victoria have experienced similar “green Christmases” and easily the most in the country with Vancouver one higher at 60 between 1955 and 2021.

Find the full statistics online at