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Vancouverites head for the shade, and turn up their air conditioners as a blistering heat-wave furnishes the city with the single hottest day ever recorded in its 123-year history. The 33.8 degree high, the result of an offshore high-pressure system that effectively blocks cooler air from the Pacific, beats out the previous record set back in 1960, and, when combined with heavy smoke from provincewide forest fires, makes the summer truly something to complain about.
“Metro Vancouver’s air advisory for the Lower Mainland asked residents to reduce emissions, and and ease up on strenuous activities if they are elderly or have cardio-respiratory conditions,” reports the Vancouver Province. “[Mayor] Robertson urged overheated Vancouverities to drink plenty of water and seek refuge at air-conditioned libraries, community centres, parks, pools and even the Sunset Ice-Skating rink.”
However, on the bright side, seasonal water temperatures at Kitsilano Beach and English Bay are a full five degrees warmer than usual, bringing more than 14,000 people to Kits alone, and forcing the city to double the number of lifeguards on duty.
“We born-and-bred Metro Vancouverites are simply not meant for the heat,” complains the Province’s Shelly Fralic. “We whine. And moan. If we wanted to be roasted alive, we say to anyone who’ll listen, we’d move to the centre of the universe. Or Toronto.”
IMAGE: Swimmers at Greer’s Beach (now Kitsilano Beach), circa 1889. Image Courtesy of the Vancouver Archives.