Bummer of a Summer

As September begins and we pack away our white pants for another long winter, it’s time to ask, “What was up with that summer?” With the rain pounding away, 2008 was the summer of abbreviated golf games and Monopoly tournaments at the cottage. After receiving nearly 200 cm snow this winter, says David Phillips of Environment Canada, Torontonians felt entitled to a “hummer of a summer.” Instead, he says, “it’s a bummer of a summer.”

We’ve seen the most rainfall in 70 years, with about 400 mm of the stuff. But what’s particularly hard, from a psychological perspective, says Phillips, is that “you get sun and rain on the same day… it’s just not dependable.” Add to that the fact that last summer was remarkably dry, and calling this summer a bummer seems like an understatement.

“Typically, the best thing about Canadian weather is that it hits and runs,” says Phillips. But this summer, “we’ve seen this very stubborn upper-low sitting up there, and it’s just dominating the weather scene. It’s sort of like the weather bully.”Instead of heading north or south as per usual, the storm system, inexplicably, has been sitting overhead for months.”

But, there are silver linings: gardens are lush, and we’ve had only 12 smog days to last year’s 39. Most important, though, is that we Torontonians are a resilient bunch. For Annex patio haven the Madison Avenue Pub, it’s business as usual. “The rain has hounded us, but not hurt us,” says manager Jim McCardle. “We’re not far off.”

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