Heat keeps Canadians bakingBy JIM FOX
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 21, 2002
Canadians spend a lot of time talking about the weather, especially the extremes, and this summer has been no exception.
While eagerly awaiting a long, hot summer after months of cold, many Canadians are looking forward to some rain and cooler temperatures.
People and crops are wilting after weeks of heat and no rain, with the temperatures in the mid-90s in many areas including Toronto. With the humidity factored in, the "humidex" reading produces a feeling of more than 100 degrees.
Toronto health officials upgraded a heat warning to a heat emergency that provided for the opening of cooling-off centers. These are air-conditioned city buildings where the Red Cross distributed bottled water to the overheated. A city college also opened its air-conditioned facilities to the public.
Peter Macintyre of Toronto's Emergency Medical Services said high temperatures combined with some smog are especially hard on the elderly and people with respiratory problems.
David Phillips, a climatologist with Environment Canada, said summer was slow in arriving and the heat wave is affecting the entire country.
Temperatures have averaged about 10 degrees higher than usual and precipitation levels are one-third lower than normal.
"Rarely have I seen a weather map like this, with the entire country bathed in heat," he said.
The current heat wave, continuing through the weekend, is a result of dry desert air moving north from the southwestern United States combined with moist air coming up from the tropics.
The Alberta government said it will help drought-stricken farmers with a financial aid package and several rural municipalities in Saskatchewan have declared drought disasters.
Chretien will greet pope
Prime Minister Jean Chretien will be taking part, after all, in events in the coming week with Pope John Paul II in Toronto.
There has been a controversy over whether Chretien would be available to greet the pope during his visit.
His office now announces Chretien will attend a full slate of events with the pontiff.
Chretien and his wife, Aline, are to greet the pope Tuesday and attend World Youth Day celebrations expected to attract 300,000 faithful next weekend.
Famed Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh, 93, died from complications after surgery. Louis Laberge, who was instrumental in building the Quebec Federation of Labor into the province's most powerful labor group, died of a heart attack at 78.
Longtime Toronto city council member Jack Layton is expected to seek the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party. The advocate of municipal rights would be the third contender to succeed retiring Alexa McDonough as head of the socialist party.
Many people got rich on Nortel Networks stocks when they peaked at $124 two years ago but now they're only $2. The telecommunications giant based in Toronto lost more than $1-billion Canadian in the second quarter but won't make any more immediate job cuts.
Facts and figures
The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate by 0.25 percent to 2.75 percent in a bid to control inflation. Banks then raised their prime lending rate to 4.5 percent.
Canada's dollar slipped to 65.04 U.S. cents while the U.S. dollar was worth $1.5375 Canadian before bank exchange fees.
Stock markets are still going down, with the Toronto Stock Exchange at 6,623 points Friday and the Canadian Venture Exchange 1,104 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 3, 10, 16, 36, 39 and 46; bonus 42. (July 13) 19, 27, 29, 30, 40 and 45; bonus 4.
Two crew members were killed and two injured after a Canadian Forces Griffon helicopter crashed in the Labrador wilderness while returning from a rescue mission. The helicopter was discovered at a crash site northwest of Goose Bay.
Tree huggers on North Vancouver Island are spending $60,000 to embrace an 800-year-old tree saved from municipal chain saws in Tofino last year. Crews are erecting a specially built support girdle to keep the ancient tree from falling down. Arborist Don Bottrell said it's the largest living native tree in an urban setting in the Pacific Northwest.
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