The weather in Atlantic Canada was abysmal, to say the least. If one were to name almost any weather calamity, this region likely experienced it—from severe winter storms and spring flooding to record rainfall and extreme winds. As a result, this led to one of the worst starts to the season in recent years. To put this in perspective, six permits were issued during the first three months of 2016, and five in 2015; one permit was registered during this same period last year. In fact, it took four months before six permits where registered and pool installations did not ramp up until May. Essentially, builders in this region were left with a four-month window to install pools.
Despite this, it was not all doom and gloom for this region. Nova Scotia (Halifax) had a 522 per cent increase in pool permits year-over-year. In fact, June was a successful month for this CMA, as 177 permits were registered, as opposed to one the year prior. Further, while other CMAs in the region such as Saint John (83 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (116 per cent) saw permit increases, St. John’s continued its two-year downward spiral with an 88.5 per cent decrease year-over-year.
Once the season started, the number of pool permits registered last year between July and December outpaced the 2016 season by 49 per cent. After a 168 per cent year-over-year increase in 2016, pool permits went up again in Atlantic Canada by 66 per cent in 2017. This region represents 3.5 per cent of the total number of building permits issued in Canadian CMAs, which is an increase of 1.5 per cent over 2016.
Several weather extremes felled this province throughout 2017. At the start of the year, a new single-day snowfall record was set in Gaspésie, while snow and freezing rain hit areas such as Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Shawinigan, and Montréal. During the latter part of 2017, parts of the province experienced high winds, power outages, and severe storms, along with record rainfalls and flooding. Sandwiched in between was one of the lousiest summers on record, considering the number of days above 30 C (86 F) went from 16 in 2016 to three in 2017, while the total number of heavy rain days (above 10 mm [0.4 in.]) doubled.
This took its toll on the Quebec pool market, which is one of the largest in the country. So much so that every CMA, except for Québec City, gave back what it gained in 2016. This did not happen immediately, however, as 45 per cent more pool permits were registered between January and March last year than the year prior. That said, permit registrations were lower in each following month to close out the year, representing a 15.5 per cent decrease.
While the market took a hit in 2017, the total number of registered permits last year remained higher than the numbers reported in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
When taking a closer look at the year-over-year statistics for each CMA, one will see the largest decrease in permit registrations (55.6 per cent) occurred in Ottawa-Gatineau. This CMA had the highest increase in 2016. Pool permits in Montréal, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivières decreased between 10 and 16 per cent in 2017.
Montréal had the lowest decrease in permit registrations at 10 per cent. Surprisingly, however, this CMA, which was the top producer of pool permits in the country for two years running, now holds the top spot for total number of decreased permits in the country.
The lone bright spot for this region was Québec City, which saw a 2.3 per cent increase in registered pool permits last year. This is the third consecutive year permits have increased in this CMA. Overall, the province saw 747 less pool permits registered in 2017.
Quebec represents 64 per cent of the total number of pool building permits issued in the country’s CMAs, which is a decrease of 3.6 per cent in comparison to 2016.
One would think after the dreary start to 2017, combined with the warmest January and February on record for more than 70 years in southern Ontario, the season was going to have a good start. For instance, Kitchener had a record 12 straight melting days in January (the longest since 1944), while in Windsor, minimum temperatures fell below -10 C (14 F) only 16 times by the end of February.
According to Environment Canada, the jet stream that hovered over the country for the majority of last summer brought record rains and cooler conditions to the province.
For instance, between June 20 and July 31, the temperature in Toronto, the province’s capital, hit 30 C (86) degrees a mere seven times, 17 less than in 2016. Further, by the end of July, 386 mm (15 in.) of rain had fallen, compared to 133 mm (5.2 in.) the year prior.