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Check out your thermometers Nova Scotia, you're Canada's warmest province year-round at an average of 6.31 degrees.

"They would have to change their licence plate from '[Canada's]Ocean Playground' to 'Warmest Province in Canada,' " David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said yesterday with the release of his study Province-Territory Weather Winners.

Although the Maritime province doesn't have hot summers, it also doesn't have brutally cold winters, which gives it the highest average temperature.

Over a six-week period, Mr. Phillips analyzed weighted data from 1971-2000, gathered by 150 weather stations across the country, to find annual averages over the period.

He said he did the report so provinces could have numbers to back boasts about their comfortable or tough climates. He also joked that he wanted the data to settle bets between friends about quirky facts such as the most sunny days or the windiest province, since talking about the weather is one of Canada's national pastimes.

As the second-largest country in the world, Mr. Phillips said, Canada is more than the Arctic North many people perceive it to be.

"We're just not a cold, snowy forest," he said. "We have a multitude of climates."

Nova Scotia's claim to be the warmest somewhat surprised Mr. Phillips. He said he thought it would be British Columbia, given the temperate weather of the south coast. But because the rest of B.C. spans such a vast area with low temperatures, the smaller Nova Scotia had a higher average. If the study were based on more specific regions, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island would be Canada's warmest location.

One surprise was that New Brunswick has the sunniest winters, and that the cold prairie province of Saskatchewan has the most days when the mercury rises above 30 degrees.

In general, Alberta is the most comfortable province, while Nunavut has the most extreme climate, according to Mr. Phillips.

"I didn't look too far to find any redeeming qualities about [Nunavut's]particular climate, apart from the fact that they could say that 'Well, we've got the toughest weather, we can appreciate a fine day more than the rest of Canada' because they do have it so tough."

Ontario is Canada's most "quintessential" province.

"It's the one province that has a little bit of everything -- it's almost like the buffet of weather types," said Mr. Phillips, who found that Ontario led in only one of the 70 categories -- most thunderstorm days.

"If you were from another country and you wanted to get a taste of all of the different . . . weather in Canada, you'd probably be advised to come to Ontario."

Other interesting tidbits: New Brunswick has the hottest summers (23.28 degrees); Nunavut has the coldest summers (8.75) and is the windiest (19.21 kilometres an hour); Nova Scotia is the rainiest (1,081.7 millimetres); and Alberta has the lowest annual snowfall (140.41 centimetres).

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