Map of Canada’s lightning hotspots

Ever wonder which areas of the country receive the most lightning? This section provides you with some informative maps that depict the lightning “hot spots” in Canada.

Western Canada

The interior of British Columbia, despite having a long lightning season, has relatively low lightning density. East of the Rocky Mountain continental divide, a pronounced area of higher lightning activity occurs over the Rocky Mountain Foothills and the Swan Hills of Alberta. Southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba have an area of relatively high lightning activity, which appears to be an extension of the active Great Plains area of the United States.

The average lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in Western Canada (1999 to 2018)

The average lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) for Western Canada (1999 to 2018)
The average lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in Western Canada (1999 to 2018). Detailed table. 
The average lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in Western Canada (1999 to 2018)
Area in Province or Territory Average flash density per square kilometre, per year Colour Representation
British Columbia - offshore west of Haida Gwaii **see note below White
British Columbia - North and South Coast and Northern BC 0.1 Dark Blue
British Columbia - Central interior 0.25 Blue
British Columbia - Peace region - small areas 0.5 Light Blue
British Columbia - Southeast - small areas 0.5 Light Blue
Yukon 0.1 Dark Blue
Northwest Territories - South 0.25 Blue
Northwest Territories - South - small areas 0.5 Light Blue
Northwest Territories - Northeast 0.1 Dark Blue
Nunavut 0.1 Dark Blue
Nunavut - far north **see note below White
Alberta 0.5 Light Blue
Alberta - Central  - areas east of the Rockies 0.75 Cyan
Alberta - small areas in a line from Calgary to Edson 1.2 Yellow
Saskatchewan - South - small areas 0.8 Light green
Saskatchewan - Southeast - small areas 1.2 Yellow
Saskatchewan - Central - small areas 0.5 Light blue
Saskatchewan - Northeast 0.25 Blue
Manitoba - South 0.75 Cyan
Manitoba - Southwest  1.2 Yellow
Manitoba - Southwest - small regions 1.6 Red
Manitoba - North 0.25 Blue
Ontario - West 0.25 Blue
Ontario - Southwest - along the US border 0.75 Cyan

** There are very few lightning strikes detected off the west coast of Canada as well as the far North.

Eastern Canada

Even though the east coast has a long lightning season, it has low lightning activity. The Richelieu Valley in Quebec has slightly higher lightning activity than the rest of Quebec. Southern Ontario sees some of the highest activity of all of Canada.

The average lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in Eastern Canada (1999 to 2018)

The average lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in Eastern Canada (1999 to 2018). Detailed table. 
The average lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in Eastern Canada (1999 to 2018)
Area in Province or Territory Average flash density per square kilometre, per year Colour Representation
Ontario - West, North and Central 0.5 Blue
Ontario - northern shores of Lake Superior 0.1 Dark blue
Ontario - South 1.1 Cyan
Ontario - Southwest - between the Great Lakes 2.1 Red
Ontario - Southwest - between the Great Lakes - small areas 3.0+ Dark red
Quebec 0.5 Blue
Quebec - South - small areas on the South Shore 1.1 Cyan
Quebec - North and East 0.1 Dark blue
New Brunswick 0.5 Blue
Prince Edward Island 0.1 Dark blue
Nova Scotia 0.1 Dark blue
Newfoundland and Labrador 0.1 Dark blue
Labrador - Northeast and offshore **see note below White

** There are very few lightning strikes detected off the northeast coast of Labrador as well as the far North.

Southern Ontario

Southwestern Ontario sees some of the highest lightning flash densities in the country. This region is located in a lake-breeze convergence zone, where a lake air mass meets a land air mass, between Lakes Huron and Erie. The lightning flash density here is similar to the average lightning flash densities over central Florida. Another hot spot is located along a line from the southern tip of Georgian Bay to southeast of Barrie. These two areas can be seen where the darkest red colours are on the following map, which shows the greatest single-year lightning flash density for the years of 1999-2018.

Greatest single-year lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in southern Ontario (1999 to 2018)

Greatest single-year lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre per year) for southern Ontario
Greatest single-year lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in southern Ontario (1999 to 2018). Detailed table.
Greatest single-year lightning flash density (flashes per square kilometre, per year) in southern Ontario (1999 to 2018)
Area in Province or Territory Average flash density
per square kilometre, per year
Colour Representation
Windsor to Kitchener 5.5 Orange-red
Windsor to Kitchener - small areas 8 Red
In a line from Kettle Point to Port Stanley 10+ Dark red
Norfolk County 3.5 Yellow-orange
Niagra Region 2.5 Green-yellow
City of Toronto 5 Orange
In a line from Kincardine to Brampton and North 3.3 Yellow
Georgian Bay - South - small areas 6 Red
Simco County 1.5 Cyan
In a line from Lake Simcoe to Belleville 2.5 Green-yellow
In a line from Lake Simcoe to Belleville - small areas 5 Orange
In a line from Lake Simcoe to Belleville - North 2 Light green
In a line from Lake Simcoe to Belleville - North - small areas 3.3 Yellow
Lake Huron - along the northern edge of the lake 1.5 Cyan
Lake Huron - along the northern edge of the lake and North 0.75 Blue
Lake Huron - along the northern edge of the lake and North - small areas 3.3 Yellow
Near Gananoque 0.75 Blue
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