I step into the sauna and try to breathe deeply. Nope. The air is too thick.

Well, it’s not really a sauna, it’s really The Great Ottawa Outdoors, summer 2020 edition. The heat and humidity are just indistinguishable from a sauna. This season, already hammered by COVID-19, has now been pounded into the ground by, wait for it, excessive heat and humidity.

I grew up in Alberta, and Ottawa’s summers were an unwelcome discovery when I worked here occasionally in the 1990s. I had neither the lightweight work clothes nor the lighthearted attitude necessary to handle day after day of swelter, especially in hotel rooms with pathetic air conditioning. But at some point I always got to go home to relatively cool and absolutely arid Alberta.

I moved to Ottawa in 2002, and gradually acclimatized. But there are limits to my adaptability, and we keep hitting them this summer.

Today, though, the weather-peroffspring on the radio promised me that this undeniably hot weekend would last only until Sunday. Monday would see a cold front come through. What sweet anticipation of a shiver.

Then I made the mistake of checking it out online. In both official languages.

Online weather forecast

So much for shivering, in antici….pation or otherwise. On Monday or otherwise.

Brother, I don’t know what “cold front” means in your world, but in Alberta it means that it gets, you know, cold.


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8 Responses to Inconceivable

  1. Tom Watson says:

    I’m a swelter-averse person too. Is there a club for such folks?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Well, there are impromptu gatherings (and some sponsored events) across Canada: polar bear plunges. I’m a little bit averse to freezing any parts of my anatomy, too. Just a middle-of-the-road gal.

  2. Tom Watson says:

    Ummm…right. not into polar bear plunges either.

  3. Dorothy Warren says:

    Makes me laugh. Today they issued a heat warning about 2 pm. At that time it was only 23 degrees. The high with the humidity was projected to feel like 26. We Albertans do like our summers on the cool side! Though I don’t think you could say it’s been arid up til now. We’ve had rain almost every day in July.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dorothy – Well, I guess rain is good to a point. This year we have the dry conditions I associate with my homeland. 🙂 As I recall, though, Edmonton doesn’t cool off much at night.

  4. What’s worse, this simmering set of heat waves may be a sign of global warming. I was told that the night temperatures are the ones to watch. They seem to me to be consistently above the norms even when the daytime temperatures come into the range of normal, and my comfort zone. I must admit that here in the Ontario countryside we usually get a breeze and high temps a few degrees lower than what is predicted for Toronto. As I bask in the air conditioning, I imagine what summer was like for the first owners of this century-plus farmhouse house.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Hmm. Night-time temps, eh? Like the diastolic reading being the more important of the two in blood pressure, in one sense, because it indicates the ongoing pressure the system is under? As for the original inhabitants of your farmhouse, all I have to do is picture what the women were wearing 100 years ago and it’s almost enough to induce sympathetic heat stroke.

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