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I'm From A Country With Temperatures Over 45 C & Here's Why Canada's Summer Still Had Me Shook

The sun directly overhead felt just as intense here! 🥵

Trending Associate Editor
Janice Rodrigues in Oman in 2021. Right: Posing with the CN Tower in Toronto in 2022.

Janice Rodrigues in Oman in 2021. Right: Posing with the CN Tower in Toronto in 2022.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I made a big mistake when moving to Canada from Dubai earlier this year — and that was throwing out most of my summer clothes.

For some reason, I just assumed that the land of snow would be, well, perpetually cold. I was warned that things could get heated during Canadian summers, but I laughed off these suggestions.

As someone born in the desert country of Oman, who spent years in the UAE, the thought of Canada being too warm seemed hilarious!

After all, in the UAE, summer temperatures regularly reach above 45 C — there are even viral videos of people cooking eggs on their balconies or on the hood of their cars.

To put it into context, my iPhone would regularly overheat and stop working if I was outdoors in the Dubai sun.

For me, "heat" is defined as anything with temperatures over 40 C. Anything less would probably just be a good time. Or so I thought.

But I was wrong.

When summer started in Toronto, where I'm currently based, I remember being excited.

But even then, the first time I was out for a light jog in the sun, I remember getting a slight headache. I wish I could express with complete accuracy why, but the sun directly overhead felt just as intense here as it did in Dubai.

As the months went on, it became clear that despite having a very high tolerance for heat, I had completely underestimated the Toronto sun!

Here are some of the reasons why the Canadian summer left me, well, shook!

Most places simply aren't built for the heat

Janice Rodrigues with a rocky UAE backdrop in 2021.

Janice Rodrigues with a rocky UAE backdrop in 2021.

Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

When it comes to weather, Dubai is the polar opposite of Toronto, so it makes sense that much of its architecture reflects this.

In Dubai, everything from buildings to vehicles is designed to withstand incredibly high temperatures.

Meanwhile, most houses and buildings in Toronto, as far as I could see, were designed with the idea of trapping heat, using thick walls and insulating materials.

That's great during the winter months. But in summer, I had to crack open a window in the hopes of a breeze – and even then, I was left wanting.

Air conditioning isn't as common in Canada

In the UAE, air conditioning isn't seen as a luxury but a necessity.

Everything is air-conditioned. I'm talking about that local grocery store down the street and even some bus stops.

Just like Toronto has The Path, Dubai has an air-conditioned metro system connected to popular tourist spots like The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates. So, you don't even have to step into the heat if you don't want to.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, air conditioning isn't as prevalent in my experience. Sure, a lot of condos and stores have it, but not the buses… or many houses.

And since I am staying in a property without air conditioning, a fan has quickly become my new best friend!

The days are longer during summer

This is another thing that caught me off-guard about Canadian summers.

With UAE being closer to the equator, there is only a marginal difference in the number of daylight hours between the summer and winter months.

For example, the sun would usually set at 7 p.m. on a summer day and perhaps around 5:30 p.m. during winter.

It's not even comparable to Toronto, where the sun sets close to 9 p.m. in July.

That just means more daylight hours, more sun, more heat, and me constantly losing track of time because I assume it's still early from the light outside.

It's more humid than I expected

Between living in a house designed to trap heat, sleeping in a thicker duvet than I'm used to, and using a single fan with no air conditioning, there have been some days where it was hard for me to fall asleep at night.

While I found the fan great for general heat, Canada's humidity is a different topic!

Meanwhile, the UAE is known more for its dry heat. That isn't to say it doesn't get humid there – it definitely does – but on those days, most people retreat to the comfort of air conditioning.

Thankfully, I did find the seriously humid days in Toronto few and far between!

Janice Rodrigues enjoying her time in the sun during a backpacking trip in Ontario.Janice Rodrigues enjoying her time in the sun during a backpacking trip in Ontario.Janice Rodrigues | Narcity

So, if you're like me and you've come from a seriously hot country, don't be in a rush to get rid of your summer clothes. And hold on to that sunscreen, you will most definitely be glad you did.

In the meantime, don't forget to stay cool – however possible – and hydrated.

Appreciate the warmth because winter will be here before you know it!

    Janice Rodrigues
    Trending Associate Editor
    Janice Rodrigues is an Associate Editor for Narcity Canada’s Trending Desk focused on Canadian immigration and passports, and is based in Scarborough, Ontario.
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