10 Canadian record-setting weather events

A prairie field with dark clouds above it By Flystock/Shutterstock

Record-setting weather events—extreme temperatures, storms, wild precipitation—aren’t new to Canada. Here’s our list of 10 small-town Canadian weather records set in recent history.

1. The strongest tornado recorded in Canada

A tornado (F5 on the Fujita scale) touched down in Elie, Man., on June 22, 2007. At the time, the Fujita scale ranked tornadoes based on the damage they caused; an F5 was the highest category of damage, marked by houses being lifted off their foundations and cars flung through the air. Because the Fujita scale has since been replaced by the Enhanced Fujita Scale, the Elie tornado is the first and last Canadian tornado to earn an F5 ranking.

2. A summer hailstorm batters British Columbia’s interior

A summer hailstorm in the Okanagan region of British Columbia pelted apple orchards on July 21, 1997. Environment Canada reports that after the region was hit, there was a 40 per cent loss of fruit crops, along with a series of capsized boats and traffic accidents.

3. Rain rain, go away in British Columbia

Ucluelet Brynner Mines in British Columbia saw rain, rain, and more rain on October 6, 1976. The event still holds the Canadian record for the most rain in one day. A whopping 489.2 mm of rainfall was recorded—just under half a metre.

4. A three-way tie for Ontario’s hottest temperature

Lytton, B.C. holds the record for highest temperature in Canada, hitting a scorching 49.6˚C on June 29, 2021. But in the east, three areas in the boreal region have reached a temperature of 42.2˚C, tying them for top temperature in the province of Ontario: Atikokan, Fort Frances, and Bicotasing.

5. On cloud nine in British Columbia

Love gloomy, cloudy weather? Head to Prince Rupert, B.C., the town that can boast the fewest sunny days in Canada.

6. A record-breaking year for Ontario tornadoes

Ontario contributed more than its fair share to the national tornado count in 2020. Of the 77 tornados counted in Canada that year, 42 occurred in Ontario. This set a new provincial record for tornado sightings.

7. Great Lakes set waterspout record

The Great Lakes hold the world record for waterspout outbreaks, with at least 88 spouts confirmed between August 16 and 19 in 2020. The majority of the spouts were spotted on Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario.

8. Lake Ontario heats up

In 2020 the surface water of Lake Ontario reached its highest recorded temperature since 1995. A balmy 24.96˚C was recorded on July 10.

9. A Canadian forest fire burns for months

Guinness World Records lists a couple of contenders for largest forest fire. In the running is the Chinchaga Fire—it started burning in British Columbia on June 1, 1950 and lasted a shocking five months before ending on October 31 in the next-door province of Alberta.

10. Let it snow in Newfoundland and Labrador

Fans of snow should book a flight to Gander, in Newfoundland and Labrador. This city in the northeastern part of the Rock has the greatest total annual snowfall recorded at 443.13 cm.

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