Toronto shortens New Year's Eve party due to coldest weather in over 100 years

The party meant to ring in 2018 in downtown Toronto has been shortened due to extreme cold, city officials announced on Friday.

City says celebration at Nathan Phillips Square on Sunday will now begin at 11:30 p.m.

Nathan Phillips Square was supposed to host an array of New Year's Eve celebrations Sunday night. The events that featured skating, live music and a fireworks display will now begin shortly before midnight due to extreme cold. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

The party meant to ring in 2018 in downtown Toronto has been shortened due to record-setting extreme cold, city officials announced on Friday. 

Nathan Phillips Square was poised to send off Canada's 150th year on Sunday night with a big bash. The city put a freeze on some of the events that feature public skating, live music and a fireworks display after the stroke of midnight over concerns for public health in the frigid temperatures.

"The city is taking all measures to protect the health and safety of the public, artists, volunteers and event staff," a news release issued on Friday said. 

The city says the party will now begin at 11:30 p.m. and will include live music, a countdown until midnight, followed by a fireworks display.

Cold to smash 119-year-old temperature record

Although a high of -8 C is expected Saturday, the brief respite from the cold won't last long. A high of -16 C is in store Sunday and a wind chill of -30 will make it feel much colder, according to Environment Canada.

Peter Kimbell, warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada, predicts Sunday night's cold snap will edge into record-breaking territory bottoming out at -23 C. The previous record for this date was set in 1899, when it hit -21.1 C. 

Officials are asking people to bundle up for the New Year's Eve celebrations at Nathan Philips Square. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The federal weather agency also predicts an extreme cold warning will be issued Sunday morning as another blast of Arctic air moves across the province plummeting temperatures well below the seasonal mark. 

"The city will continue to monitor weather conditions over the next 48 hours and make further adjustments if necessary," the release read.

But officials told reporters on Friday afternoon they will cancel the celebration if the temperature hits -20 C or colder, or if the wind picks up. 

The move comes Friday after Ottawa announced some of Parliament Hill's events will been cancelled due to the deep freeze that's gripping the province and much of Canada. Charlottetown also won't host its New Year's Eve celebrations.