Canada's cold spot: -43 C means 'business as usual' in Old Crow, Yukon

The remote fly-in community — Yukon's northernmost — is currently Canada's coldest spot, with temperatures at -43 C and forecast to dip to –50 C on Wednesday night.

Yukon's northernmost community gets its 1st — and probably not last — deep cold snap of winter

Old Crow is only seeing a short spell of daylight these days, and will soon say goodbye to the sun for a few weeks. (Leonard Linklater/CBC)

Think you know cold? Book a flight to Old Crow, Yukon, this week and then decide.

The remote fly-in community — Yukon's northernmost — is currently Canada's coldest spot, with temperatures at -43 C Wednesday evening and expected to dip to –50 C Wednesday night. 

The forecast for the next few days is not looking much different, either — though it may get all the way up to –31 C by Saturday.

"You have to just respect the cold and work with it, not against it," says Eleanor Charlton, principal at Chief Zzeh Gittlit school in Old Crow. "Everybody's smart about it, they stay in and they stay warm."

That doesn't mean that classes are cancelled, though. Charlton says the school's always open, "regardless of the temperature.

"I think it's just another day in Old Crow... it's just business as usual," she said.

Old Crow has often seen such cold snaps, though some say they're becoming rarer. Charlton says elders remember –50 C, or even –60 C weather "all the time."

Frances Ross, seen here on a balmier winter day, says she doesn't typically run her dogs when the temperature drops below -35 C. (Frances Ross/Facebook)

"A lot of folks in town tell me this is what they used to have all winter," said Frances Ross, a musher who's got a team of dogs in Old Crow.

She's taking care to make sure her dogs are warm this week. The dogs typically stay outside all winter, in "pretty thick dog houses, with lots of spruce boughs down.

"We just thickened up the beds yesterday," she said. "They get fed two to three times a day right now — pretty much as much as I can get in them, to keep them warm."

with files from Leonard Linklater


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