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Science & Tech

The facts on Canada's cold weather

  • Dec 11, 2013
  • 406 words
  • 2 minutes
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Antarctica was in the news recently when new data revealed that on Aug. 20, 2010, the temperature dropped to a whopping -93.2 C, the lowest recorded temperature in the world. In comparison to a temperature like that, Canada’s Arctic Coast seems like a day at the beach!

In honour of icy weather, here are a few fun facts about the cold.

  • The coldest day in Canada was on Feb. 3, 1947 in Snag, Yukon. At a brisk -63 C, the temperature is still the coldest recorded in North America.
  • Senior climatologist at Environment Canada David Phillips says that the Yukon, Greenland, Siberia, Antarctica and Alaska are the only five places he knows that reach temperatures lower than -60 C.
  • In terms of year round temperature, Phillips says Canada is the second coldest country in the world, with an average year round temperature of -3.6 C. Russia has the honour of first place at -5.3 C.
  • In the past 30 years, the average nighttime low in Canada for December, January and February was -26.7 C.
  • Nunavut is the coldest territory in the winter, with an average daily temperature of -33.4 C, while Manitoba is the coldest winter province at -25.1 C. Nova Scotia is the warmest province, with a balmy average of -8.9 C.
  • Despite recent reports that it is the coldest capital city on the planet, Ottawa is actually the third coldest in terms of mean daily winter temperature after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Astana, Kazakhstan. It is, however, the snowiest capital.
  • At -27.6 C, Yellowknife is the coldest winter city with over 10,000 people. Thompson, Man. is second at -25.1 C. While Iqaluit is lower at -29.4 C, it doesn’t have over 10,000 residents.
  • February, which Phillips says is always considered the coldest month in Canada, was at its worst in 1979 in Eureka, Nunavut with an average overall temperature of -47.9 C.
  • The daily winter averages of some territorial and provincial capitals, from coldest to warmest:

    Iqaluit, -25.2 C
    Yellowknife, -23.4 C
    Winnipeg, -14.3 C
    Whitehorse, -13.4 C
    Regina, -12.9 C
    Edmonton, -11 C
    Fredericton, -7.7 C
    Charlottetown, -6.1 C
    Toronto, -4.1 C
    St. John’s, -3.6 C
    Halifax, -3.3 C
    Victoria, 4.6 C


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