|A statue depicting a spring scene are covered in snow in front of the Library and Archives on Wellington St. as a heavy snowfall dumps nearly 20 cms of snow in Ottawa Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013. (Darren Brown/QMI Agency)
The calendar may say it's the first day of spring, but don't put away your parkas and winter boots just yet, Canada.
As the new season dawned Wednesday, the country was gripped in cold, wintry conditions from coast to coast. And it won't warm up until after Easter, forecasters say.
"We're all bemoaning the fact that spring has been reluctant to arrive here," Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said Wednesday. "Apart from where the sun is shining, it feels and looks like the dead of winter and not the first day of spring."
Wednesday was colder than normal in Toronto and the Maritimes, while Montreal was busy digging out from a heavy snowstorm and Winnipeg and Regina shivered through -31 C in the morning. The only place where the first day of spring was warmer than normal was Iqaluit, Phillips said.
"Instead of -17 C it's -4 C with a little bit of flurry activity," he said. "They feel like they're seeing daffodils up there. It's much balmier than it should be."
This year's cool first day of spring probably feels even more bitter since many parts of the country last year experienced a string of nine hot days with temperatures above 20 C just as the seasons changed, Phillips said.
"This year we'll be lucky to get above the freezing mark. It's like a different world."
The forecast for April and May looks more promising, with normal to above-normal temperatures expected to arrive across the country.