Yellowknife the coldest, sunniest city in Canada

Yellowknife is the coldest capital in Canada, but that’s not the only weather title the N.W.T. capital holds. In a weather survey of 100 Canadian cities, the N.W.T. capital topped 13 of 75 categories.
Tourists in Yellowknife brave -40 C and ice fog on New Year's Day to get a view of Great Slave Lake from Pilot's Monument in Old Town. Environment Canada calls the city the Coldest Capital in Canada. (Sara Minogue/CBC)

Environment Canada looked at 100 Canadian cities and ranked them based in categories, such as longest winter, driest city, and sunniest year round.

'The temperatures here in Yellowknife are a point of pride for people who live here,' says Yellowknife mayor, Mark Heyck.
Yellowknife came out on top in 13 of 75 lists. 

“I think of Yellowknife as a weather champion,” says David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. “You're number one in so many aspects of the weather."

Yellowknife topped many winter weather lists, including coldest year round, longest snow cover, most cold days and most extreme wind chill.

With average winter temperatures of -28.9 degrees, Phillips says Yellowknife holds lots of cold weather records, including extreme wind chill.

Yellowknife topped 13 categories

Coldest winter

Coldest spring

Coldest year round

Most cold days

Most hot and cold days

Longest snow cover season

Most deep snow cover days

Sunniest summer

Sunniest spring

Most heating degree days

Extreme windchill

Most high windchill days (-30 or less)

Driest winter Air

The coldest temperature recorded in the N.W.T. capital with the wind? -63.99

Mayor Mark Heyck says it takes a special breed of person to live in this kind of cold.

“The temperatures here in Yellowknife are a point of pride for people who live here,” Heyck says. “We hear about the polar vortex and deep freeze that a lot of southern parts of Canada are in and here in YK we call that December through February.”

But Yellowknife is not all about cold.

The city comes out on top in the warmer months as well.

“You have the sunniest summers and the sunniest springs,” Phillips says. “That's something that should be on your bumper stickers.”

In the spring, Yellowknife sees almost 100 more hours of sun than the second place city, Winnipeg.

As for the other territories, Whitehorse was on top when it came to the percentage of precipitation falling as snow. Whitehorse was also the driest city, with the driest summer air. 

Iqaluit didn't make any list. That’s because, with a population of less than 10,000, it wasn't included.