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Don't tease us, Billy

In light of Balzac Billy failing to see his shadow Groundhog Day (Feb.

In light of Balzac Billy failing to see his shadow Groundhog Day (Feb. 2), signaling an early spring for Alberta, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the more interesting weather factoids from around this great country of ours.

Albertans are no strangers to chilly winter temperatures, while at the same time, can also be treated to rather mild winter days in the southern part of the province at least.

Environment Canada’s top weather story for 2014 was ‘Canada’s long cold winter,’ with the past year marking the chilliest winter in 18 years and the third coldest in 35 years. The year of the ‘polar vortex’; a cold front that stretched as far south as Tallahassee, Fla.

Canadians are well aware of the difficulty many face searching out a location in our vast country – which has been labeled the second coldest country in the word behind only Russia – that offers anything close to what could be described as a warm climate.

Depending on your weather preference, there always seems to be some sort of drawback, whether it’s persistent winter rain in B.C., colossal amounts of snow in the eastern region, bitter cold in the prairies, or sloppy, freezing wet in Ontario and Quebec.

Here are some stats, according to Environment Canada and printed in Maclean’s:

- Warmest year-round: Chilliwack, B.C. (10.5C)

- Coldest year-round: Iqualuit (-9.8C)

- Lowest snowfall: Victoria, B.C. (44cm)

- Fewest freezing days: Vancouver, B.C. (46)

- Most thunderstorms: Windsor, Ont. (33 days)

- Windiest: St. John’s, Nfld. (23km/h)

- Wettest: Prince Rupert, B.C. (2,594mm rain)

- Driest: Whitehorse (267mm rain)

- Most sunny days: Calgary, Alta. (333)

For those who are not fans of winter, there are some places in Canada that could be described as much more extreme and should be avoided at all costs.

Gander, Nfld., for example, receives an average winter snowfall of 4.43 metres, while Kenaston, Sask., has the unofficial slogan as being ‘the blizzard capital of Saskatchewan’ and Baker Lake, Nunavut endures around 21 winter whiteouts each year.

The coldest day recorded in a Canadian community was Feb. 3, 1947 in Snag, Yukon, where the mercury dipped to a bone-chilling -62.8C. Fort Vermillion, Alta. is not far behind, plummeting to -60.6C in 1911.

The coldest more populated location in Canada is Yellowknife, where the average daily winter temperature is -28.9C.

So what about moving to a more temperate climate and away from the bitter cold?

Well, there are options, but each comes with some setbacks (depending on how you look at it).

We mentioned above that Chilliwack was the warmest place year round in Canada, but it’s also the cloudiest. Between November and the end of March, residents in Chilliwack, for a period of time during the day, only see the sunshine a total of 76 days. That means there’s around 74 days with no sun at all.

In Canada, finding a temperate location to reside usually comes with an onslaught of rain.

Victoria, however, may be an exception.

Unbeknownst to many, B.C.’s capital city is one of the driest locations in Canada between March and November, experiencing a heap of sunny days. The city even holds its annual Victoria Flower Count at the end of February…what? If you’re a fan of hot weather, though, Victoria, despite its mild temperatures, only averages in the low 20s during the summer months.

So, where was the hottest day recorded in Canadian history? Saskatchewan, of course.

July 5, 1937 in Midale and Yellow Grass, Sask., the temperature reached a scorching 45C.

In addition to the Top 2, of the 43 hottest days recorded in Canada, it may come as a surprise that Saskatchewan holds 22 of those records.

Does Cochrane have any interesting weather stats?

According to Environment Canada, our lowest recorded temperature was -42.8C in 1997; highest was 33.8C in 2002; the most rainfall came June 17, 2005 (128.4mm); most snow was 30cm March 16, 1998; and our deepest snow depth was 60cm in January of 1998.

Cochrane’s daily average temperature for the year is 3.1C...hopefully Balzac Billy is right…bring on spring!