Record lows recorded in Ontario, Alberta on New Year's Eve

It wasn't just cold in Canada on New Year's Eve — for some cities and towns in the country, it was record breaking.

It was dangerously cold in northern Quebec, where thermometers plunged to –48.2 C

Record-setting low temperatures were reported in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario on New Year's Eve. (Alice Chiche/AFP/Getty Images)

It wasn't just cold in Canada on New Year's Eve — for some cities and towns in the country, it was record breaking, according to Environment Canada.

An arctic air mass brought extreme cold to a wide swath over much of Canada on Sunday, prompting many cities to alter their New Year's Eve celebrations.

In southern Alberta, Lethbridge hit a record low of –38.5 C, beating the old record of –36.4 C set in 1992. Records have been kept there since 1886.

It was even colder in nearby Claresholm, another town in southern Alberta, a new record of –41.8 C blew away the record of –35.6 C, which was set in 1964. 

Ontarians were shivering as well. Toronto's Pearson airport saw a record-setting low of –22.6 C, with the old record of –21.1 C set in 1968. At the Ottawa International Airport, the temperature dropped to –28.6 C beating the 71-year-old record of –27.2 C.

Skaters brave the extreme cold on the Canada 150 skating rink on Parliament Hill in Ottawa last week. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

In Kitchener-Waterloo, a medium-sized city located 108 kilometres west of Toronto, the temperature dropped to –26.9 C, beating by more than five degrees the city's old record of –21.1C, which was set in 1947 and 1964. 

Temperatures in Trenton, Ont., beat the record set in 1964 of –23.9 C by plunging to –29.6 C, with a difference of almost six degrees.

Records were set south of the border, too. According to Reuters, Omaha, Neb., posted a low of –29 C, breaking a 130-year-old record, and Aberdeen, S.D., shattered a record set in 1919 with a temperature of –36 C.

Temperatures dipped to dangerous levels in parts of Quebec.

In Waskaganish, a Cree community on the southeast shore of James Bay, it got as cold as –45.2 C and in the Far North, residents of La Grande Rivière saw the thermometer hit –48.2 C. Those were among frostiest temperatures recorded across the country on New Year's Eve.

The plunging temperatures meant many outdoor New Year's Eve events across Canada were cancelled, but not in Manitoba. With the temperature at –26 C, which wasn't a record low, about 22,000 people in Winnipeg simply bundled up and headed out to The Forks, a historic outdoor destination located at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers for a night of fireworks and skating.