July was the hottest month on record for Ontario. While many parts of Canada have had to deal with lacklustre summer-weather, we’ve had the opposite. We’re just coming off the 6th heat alert of the season and on July 21st Toronto’s temperatures peaked at 37 C with a humidex making it feel like 51. This kind of heat isn’t always easy to deal with; it can be uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous. But it is possible to coexist with it and I don’t mean just moving between air-conditioned spaces. There are lots of little things that Jim and I have started doing this summer that has made the heat easier to tolerate.
- Windows and Fans: We’ve adopted an old fashioned approach to keeping our apartment cooler. Despite the heat during the days there have been very few nights where the temperate didn’t drop to at least the mid-20s. During the days we keep our windows and blinds closed. And at night we open them up and use a fan to blow the cooler air in. Using this approach means we’ve only had to turn our AC on a handful of times when the nightly temperature didn’t drop.
- Summer Kitchen: We’ve pretty much stopped cooking inside. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped cooking. Instead, cooking has moved to our back deck by using a barbeque and propane burner. Most of our canning will likely also take place outside this year, which seems like a much better place to have a large pot of boiling water.
- Early Mornings: The coolest hour of the day is usually 5am and it isn’t a coincidence that it also happens to be around the same time that I run. Since I dislike indoors exercise more that waking up really early, I’ve made the adjustment. Outdoor activity is still possible later in the day, it is just a lot slower and sweatier.
- Yogurt Pops: Cool and hydrating is a necessity for snacks. My favourite recipe is yogurt pops: 1 cup of in season fruit (berries or peaches usually), 1 cup of yogurt, and a tablespoon of honey mixed in a blender and frozen in pop moulds.
And in the spirit of John Horn’s positivity, here are a few reasons to love the steamy summer days in Ontario:
- Smog-less heat – it seams that despite all the heat there really haven’t been that many days where air quality has been an issue (not like a few years ago). I suggest it likely has something to do with the Provincial government’s Green Energy Act and closing coal fired power plants. Regardless, the heat and humidity are a lot easier to take when it isn’t also asthma inducing.
- Greenhouse growing conditions – there is very little diversity in my container garden (unless 12 different varieties of tomato plants count as diversity). But the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and basil that I do grow are thriving in the heat and humidity, which is basically a replication of the conditions found in greenhouses elsewhere.
- Siestas – who doesn’t like a good excuse to nap, even if it is heat induced? While my working days are powered by Markham District Energy’s distributed cooling system (basically a community sharing AC), my weekends aren’t and as a result I’ve started to enjoy the occasional nap to get through the worst of the heat.