© CSIRO 2016. Timing of life history events (phenology) is a key driver for the adaptation of grain crops to their environments. Anthesis (flowering) date is the critical phenological stage that has been most extensively studied. Maximum crop yield is achieved by maximising the duration of the pre-anthesis biomass accumulation phase and hence yield potential, while minimising the risk of water stress and temperature stress (heat and cold) during flowering and grain-filling stages. In this article, we review our understanding of phenology of the valuable oilseed crop canola (oilseed rape, Brassica napus L.) from the perspectives of biophysical modelling and genetics. In conjunction, we review the genomic resources for canola and how they could be used to develop models that can accurately predict flowering date in any given set of environmental conditions. Finally, we discuss how molecular marker tools can help canola breeders to continue to improve canola productivity in the light of climate changes and to broaden its adaptation into new agricultural areas.