TORONTO -- The heatwave baking Western Canada could shatter a decades-old record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.

On July 5, 1937, a temperature of 45 C was recorded in the towns of Midale, Sask. and Yellow Grass, Sask. – the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada.

Environment and Climate Change Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips says it’s quite possible that this 84-year-old record will be “annihilated” in B.C. this week. In Lytton, B.C., as well as nearby Lillooet, temperatures are expected to reach 45 C on Sunday, 46 C on Monday and 47 C on Tuesday, and that's not including humidity.

“It may not get to 47 C, but I think it's a done deal. It's going to be the all-time Canadian record,” he told over the phone on Sunday.

Already, 67 communities in Alberta, British Columbia and Northwest Territories set daily maximum temperature records on Saturday.

This includes 54 communities in B.C. In the Vancouver area, a temperature of 32.3 C was recorded on Saturday, beating the previous record of 30.2 C set in 2002.

The hotspot was Lytton, in the province’s southern interior, which saw temperatures hit 43.2 C. Lytton's previous record for June 26 was 39.9 C in 2006.

“For climatologists like myself, you get kind of excited by breaking a record,” Phillips told over the phone. “We mostly break records by a 10th of a degree. But these records we’re setting are huge. They’re often by two or three degrees.”

In Alberta, there were 11 communities that set temperature records on Saturday. These communities were mostly concentrated in the mountainous western part of the province near the B.C. border, such​ as Banff and Jasper.

“I mean that is just incredible, for a mountain community,” Phillips remarked.

Temperature records were also broken in Fort Liard and Nahanni Butte, N.W.T., both of which are located in the southern part of the territory.

“It is really a big, big deal. We've already broken records. But stay tuned because we're going to be clobbering more records,” Phillips said, adding that the worst of the heatwave is still yet to come.

The climatologist also points out that the these temperature readings are collected in the shade and that out in the sun, the heat feels so much more intense.

“When you go on to Jasper Avenue in Edmonton or Seventh Avenue in Calgary and if you're in the sunshine, it's not just 38 C or 39 C. It's like 47 C. And my gosh, it's like Dubai temperatures,” Phillips said.


As of Sunday afternoon, nearly all of B.C. and Alberta are under heat warnings. Parts of northern Saskatchewan and pockets of Yukon and Northwest Territories are also under warnings.

Some relief is expected on or near the end of the week as a cold front moves into B.C. on Wednesday and Thursday. Vancouver will see temperatures between 26 C and 27 C, while temperatures in Lillooet and Lytton will go down to 38 C and 39 C before dropping to 33 C on Friday.

Alberta will also see some relief by the end of the week. In Calgary, temperatures there will hover between 36 C and 39 C until Wednesday. By Friday, a high of 30 C is expected and on Saturday, temperatures are expected toy reach 28 C, with a chance of rain also on the forecast.

Due to climate change, Phillips says weather events like heatwaves tend to become more volatile and extreme, likening it to “steroids for weather.”

“What it does is it makes it worse. It changes the character, the personality, the nature of weather,” said Phillips.

“It may not take 84 years to break the all time record, again.”​