March 11, 2016 6:39 pm
Updated: March 11, 2016 8:36 pm

‘A patio beer in March is unheard of’: Edmontonians take advantage of mild weather

WATCH ABOVE: For once, the groundhog may have been right. Usually predictions of early springs never pan out this far north, but even though spring is officially a couple weeks away, many Edmontonians would swear it has already arrived. Fletcher Kent reports.

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EDMONTON — The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and Edmontonians were sitting on a patio enjoying a couple of pints between friends. It sounds like any given summer day in Edmonton, but what about winter?

With temperatures soaring to the 12°C mark Friday afternoon, that was precisely the scene along Whyte Avenue.

“I love it. I love this weather, it makes me happy,” Keely Ellis said as she sat at a table with friends at O’Byrne’s Irish Pub. “It’s kind of strange… March, I’m on a patio in a tank top? I love it.”

Becky Robinson, who was dining with Ellis, said she remembers a few years back she was on the patio in April but doesn’t ever remember grabbing an outdoor pint in March.

“Working early in the morning and then having the afternoon off to have a patio beer in March is unheard of. I’m all for it.”

Of the 70 days so far this year, 59 have been above normal.

Pub owner Cathal O’Bryne said he can’t recall a year when the patio was open before St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s definitely welcome.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “If we get a good early summer, good early spring, it’s nice. People get out of their houses, head out onto the patio, socialize a little more. It’s kind of like an awakening from the winter.”

READ MORE: Anthony Farnell’s spring forecast: More unseasonably warm weather ahead

O’Bryne has seen a bit of a boost in energy from people in the past few days; a lot more customers seem to have smiles on their faces.

“I don’t know whether that’s because they’re in an Irish pub or because of the weather or if it’s both, but you can’t be upset when you’re sitting on a patio in March drinking a pint. It just doesn’t get any better than that.”

But it wasn’t all smiles over at Snow Valley Ski Club Friday. While it was a great day to hit the hill, Tim Day said they’ve decided to close earlier than planned. Snow Valley was originally scheduled to stay open until April but Day said they’ve moved up the closing date to March 21.

“It’s so nice out, people are looking in their backyards, they’re not thinking of skiing as much as we had hoped they would.”

People are also looking to the links. Mill Woods Golf Course will open its driving range Saturday at 9 a.m. Billy D’s Driving Range is already open for the season, weather permitting.

Watch below: Jesse Beyer has your long-range weather forecast for the Edmonton area

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