In many parts of Canada, the final month of fall started off feeling a lot more like winter.
At one point early Thursday morning, 11 of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial capitals were experiencing below-freezing temperatures. The exceptions were St. John’s, N.L. – which just barely snuck above freezing at 0.1 C – and Victoria, where it was a balmy 8 C.
Record-breaking cold was reported in dozens of communities across Eastern Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Environment Canada said more than 20 communities in Ontario experienced temperatures Thursday morning colder than they had ever recorded on Nov. 22.
In Toronto, a temperature of -15.4 C was recorded at Buttonville Municipal Airport, breaking the previous daily record of -14.1 C from 2008.
A much older record was broken in Ottawa, where thermometers at the Canadian Department of Agriculture plunged to -18.7 C – more than four degrees colder than the previous Nov. 22 low, which was set in 1895.
Temperatures below -20 C were recorded in northern communities including Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay, and the temperature fell below -30 C in the northwestern Ontario communities of Geraldton and Williams Lake.
Montreal’s low temperature of -17.7 C came in more than three degrees colder than the previous record, which had stood since 1972.
Record Nov. 21 lows were set in three communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, including in Wabush Lake where temperatures fell to -31.7 C.
The cold weather was a boon for Ontario’s icewine industry. Grape harvesting activity began Wednesday night – earlier in the year than ever before, according to a spokesperson from Brock University.