The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Toronto experiences coldest day of year so far; northern Ont. even colder

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TORONTO - For those in southern Ontario who think Wednesday's temperature of -15 C with a wind chill of -20 C is cold, consider what residents of northern Ontario are facing.

Communities such as Timmins, North Bay, Fort Albany and Attawapiskat are being warned to expect temperatures around -35 C with wind chills of -50 C.

The frigid temperatures across the province are due to an Arctic air mass that has engulfed most of Eastern Canada this week.

Temperatures are forecast to increase as the weekend approaches.

Factoring in the wind chill, it felt as cold as -24 C in some parts of the Greater Toronto Area on Wednesday, making it the coldest day in the region so far this year.

Shaun Pereira was doing excavation work at an outdoor site in downtown Toronto on Wednesday and called the cold snap jarring.

"This morning was brutal. Everything was frozen, my hands, my face, but luckily it warmed up a bit as the day went on," he said.

Pereira, who works outside "all day, every day," thinks the cold weather was long overdue.

"I honestly cannot remember it being as cold as it has been this week. But I'm always ready for it, I was born in Canada. A few extra layers and some coffee is all I need."

Fred Schaefer, Superintendent of Community Paramedicine for Toronto EMS, says it's most important for people to understand the temperature and climate before heading outside.

"Once temperatures reach the -20 C mark, it's crucial that all skin should be covered to avoid frostnip (the first stage of frostbite). When it's that cold, frostnip can set in pretty quick, and you might not notice until it's too late."

Provincial police in northeastern Ontario were warning drivers to slow down and to make sure they carry a winter vehicle kit in case they get stuck or their vehicle breaks down.

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