Montreal and most of Southern Quebec is under a heat warning with humidex values expected to reach the lower 40s.
Despite Sunday’s sweltering heat, Montreal’s Canada Parade went ahead – organizers say cancelling the parade was not an option.
“We already had a couple of heat strokes here and there but we’ve already taken care of everything – it’s nice and easy – there is extra water, there is extra water, we made sure there’s extra water,” said festival organizer Nick Cowen.
“We’re Canadians, we’re tougher than we make ourselves out to be.”
It’s been a mainstay of Canada Day festivities in the city for 41 years.
Leading the way was Grand Marshal John Nelson — a 92-year-old Korean War veteran.
“I’ve been walking the parade, leading the parade for 24 years now. And I’m hoping to do it for another 20 years – and I’m 92,” he said.
The parade kicked off at 11 a.m. at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Fort streets and is making its way to Place Du Canada on Peel Street just south of Ste-Catherine, where festivities are expected to continue until 4 p.m.
Activities include music, live performances, face painting and a giant cake for Canada’s 151st birthday bash.
Measuring 1.22 metres by 2.44 metres, the cake is big enough to feed over 2,500 people.
“We have never been prouder to be Canadians – especially because what’s going on south of us and other parts of the world,” said Montreal resident Rosie Saxe. “So today was the day to be here – heat or no heat.”
Authorities are reminding residents to stay cool and keep hydrated throughout the day by drinking at least six to eight glasses of water, wearing light clothing and reducing physical activities.
Some boroughs have cancelled or curtailed Canada Day festivities due to the extreme heat and have extended hours of outdoor aquatic facilities and splash parks to help residents stay cool.
Check with your borough or municipality for detailed schedules.