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Research by a University of Waterloo professor shows employees are more likely to take time off on beautiful summer days. Beach-goers soak in the sun at Sugar Beach in Toronto on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

As Toronto sweltered under an extreme heat alert, the city broke yet another weather record as temperatures hit 36.2°C at Pearson Airport on Tuesday afternoon. Previously, the hottest July 17 on record was 35.2°C in 2011.

Toronto broke its all-time temperature record for July 4 this year when the mercury climbed to 36.6°C, the hottest day of the summer so far.

Toronto's medical health officer issued July's third extreme heat alert on Tuesday, the eighth one declared for the city in 2012.

Environment Canada says the humidity makes it feel like mid-40s and warned of "torrid temperatures and high humidity" in more than a dozen communities across southern Ontario in a special weather statement issued Tuesday morning.

"During times of high heat and humidity, the public, especially those who are susceptible to heat stress, are advised to stay in an air conditioned place when possible or seek shady areas, drink plenty of water and limit physical outdoor activity," the advisory says.

This is the eighth extreme heat alert issued for Toronto this year. The city's seven cooling centres are open, and residents are advised to take refuge from the heat in air-conditioned libraries, malls and community centres. Toronto Public Health recommends checking in with vulnerable or isolated friends and family members who don't have access to air conditioning.

A cold front on Tuesday evening will usher in less humid conditions for Wednesday with the exception of southwestern Ontario, according to Environment Canada.

"This front is expected to generate scattered thunderstorms, a few of which may become severe," the advisory says.

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