MONTREAL - A power utility shut off the lights on its iconic logo in order to save electricity Wednesday, on a frigid day marked by school closures and increased bunks in homeless shelters.

Vast parts of the country were dealing with the onset of a lengthy cold snap that saw Hydro-Quebec turn off the lights on the logo outside its headquarters, which shines like a landmark on the Montreal skyline.

The utility has had to buy additional power from Ontario and the United States, and is urging customers to cut usage in peak hours to save electricity. It says it's reducing the heating and dimming the lights in its own administrative buildings.

The utility says preliminary estimates indicate it broke a record for consumption Wednesday morning, with 38,900 kilowatts being used.

That's higher than the historic 37,717 megawatts that was reached on Jan. 24, 2011.

In Montreal, there were reports of burst city pipes as temperatures plummeted to -26 C, with the windchill projected at -38 C. Power failures were reported around the province.

In Toronto, the city reported its coldest weather in two years as temperatures dipped to -21 C and additional beds were added in homeless shelters.

People in Atlantic Canada bundled up and huddled against the cold as they negotiated sidewalks that shone with the glare from ice.

Many schools in northwest New Brunswick were closed due to frigid weather, with the temperature dropping to -36 C in Grand Sault.

Environment Canada predicted it could go as low as -41 C in some places.

Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador were also in the deep freeze.

Temperatures in the West were mostly warmer Wednesday although, in Winnipeg, the thermometer was set to drop to -32 C — with the windchill plunging below -40 C.

Huffington Post reader Zaheed Bardai snapped this picture from INSIDE a Saskatoon pizzeria earlier this week.
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  • Black River near Washago Ontario

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/jbre"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/jbre">jbre</a>:<br />

  • Winter in Nunavut

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/missmoo"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1025141485/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/missmoo">missmoo</a>:<br />A snowy day on the bay.

  • <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CanuckLad"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/2621903-2-tiny.png?20120801153616" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CanuckLad">CanuckLad</a>:<br />Near Gimli MB, December 2013

  • <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/YankinCanada"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/670707948/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/YankinCanada">YankinCanada</a>:<br />Burlington, Ontario

  • Derry, a one year-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, runs through the snow in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.

  • Vehicles under a blanket of snow in the Plateau of Montreal, Quebec on Dec. 15. 2013.

  • Snowboarders ride a chairlift at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. A lack of snow has left the local mountains with little useable terrain for skiers and snowboarders.

  • Runners brave a winter storm in Halifax on Sunday, Dec.15, 2013. The region is expecting high winds and up to 30 centimetres of snow.

  • Motorists dig out their cars as more than 20 cm of snow fell, Sunday, December 15, 2013 in Montreal.

  • Toronto is hit with another mid-December snowstorm, this time right in the middle of the Tuesday morning commute, Toronto, Ont., Dec. 17, 2013. The city’s skyline can be seen in the distance, with the CN Tower hidden behind a snowy grey sky.

  • A child rides a sled in Oakville, Ont. on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Some areas of southern Ontario received more than 25 centimetres of snow on the day.

  • Winter in Newmarket Ontario

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Irazu"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/380910-tiny.png?20090902180330" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Irazu">Irazu</a>:<br />Newmarket Ontario, February 2013

  • Cat vs. Bunny in the Snow

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Estrogenx"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1245512-2-tiny.png?20120117131032" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Estrogenx">Estrogenx</a>:<br />My cat Simon feels the snow provides sufficient camouflage to his pursuit of rabbits.

  • PJ in the Snow

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CarolRollheiser"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/twitter_profile_img/4511395.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CarolRollheiser">CarolRollheiser</a>:<br />

  • Mark McMorris, of Regina, falls on his landing during the Big Air event at the FIS Snowboard World Championship in Quebec City, Saturday, January 19, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

  • Ice Cold

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/artandthekitchen"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/artandthekitchen">artandthekitchen</a>:<br />Icey cold water of Jasper National Park

  • Don Decker starts to clean up during the first major snowstorm of the season, in St. John's, N.L., on Friday Jan. 11, 2013. An estimated 40cm have fallen. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

  • Toronto

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Blani_Bodnar"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/506010575/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Blani_Bodnar">Blani Bodnar</a>:<br />Sunset at the beaches

  • Swan Hills, Alberta

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CarolRollheiser"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/twitter_profile_img/4511395.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/CarolRollheiser">CarolRollheiser</a>:<br />Snowmobiling Deceber 30, 2012

  • An employee of the Saddledome uses a leaf blower to clear snow from the steps of the arena as a light snow falls in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

  • Residents in downtown St. John's try to dig out in the aftermath of a snowstorm that dropped over 40 centimetres of snow by Friday morning, Jan. 11, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

  • The chapel of the Quebec city Ice Hotel is pictured in Quebec city Sunday January 6, 2013. The first ice hotel in North America, L'Hotel de glace de Quebec is located in Quebec borough of Charlesbourg, 10 km from downtown. The Canadian Press Images/Francis Vachon

  • The Wave

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/ArcticRose45"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/twitter_profile_img/1650877.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/ArcticRose45">ArcticRose45</a>:<br />Cold Winter Night in Yellowknife, NT But but our souls were warmed with this beautiful display of the Aurora Borealis

  • Winter in the North

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Dyanne_DiMassimo"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Dyanne_DiMassimo">Dyanne DiMassimo</a>:<br />Vanderhoof, B.C. December 9 2012

  • Frosty window in Toronto

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Foggyday000999"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Foggyday000999">Foggyday000999</a>:<br />Fossil like, but not everlasting.

  • Frozen falls

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/thebandiswithme"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/thebandiswithme">thebandiswithme</a>:<br />North Bay, Ontario

  • The Road Home

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/thebandiswithme"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/thebandiswithme">thebandiswithme</a>:<br />Kirkland Lake, Ontario

  • Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba — a prairie sunset in the winter. Photo Courtesy of <a href="http://hikebiketravel.com/">Leigh McAdam</a>

  • Winter Wonderland

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/KidCarm09"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1343264-tiny.png?20101208120214" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/KidCarm09">KidCarm09</a>:<br />Marie Curtis Park in Etobicoke....wonderful wintry day.

  • Lighted trail

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/hp_blogger_Kenny Yum"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/contributors/kenny-yum/headshot.jpg" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/hp_blogger_Kenny Yum">HuffPost Blogger Kenny Yum</a>:<br />Running trail at night in Toronto after a snowfall.

  • Jasper national Park

    fall frozen

  • winter looking over river bourgoeis water

    my dog lilo loving the snow this morning

  • Off Leash in the Ravine

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/cpmaz"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/cpmaz">cpmaz</a>:<br />Patricia Heights Ravine Edmonton, Alberta

  • Peachland, BC Canada Jan 18th 2013

    Peachland, BC Canada January 18th 2013

  • Leo and Mount Orford

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/russell_merifield"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/russell_merifield">russell merifield</a>:<br />Walking Leo at -25C Lake Memphremagog Quebec January 2013

  • Kamiskotia Lake, Timmins Ontario

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/richbeau"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/linkedin_profile_img/4499723.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/richbeau">richbeau</a>:<br />My home, my paradise.

  • Ice Soldiers

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Paul_Paquette"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1079713303/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Paul_Paquette">Paul Paquette</a>:<br /> On Moffat Creek in sub-zero weather.

  • Peachland,BC Christmas Day

    Peachland, BC Canada Christmas day 2012. CasandraProbe

  • Port Dover after winter storm

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/scallywag1959"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/scallywag1959">scallywag1959</a>:<br />Time to start shoveling

  • Peachland,BC Canada

    Peachland, Bc Canada Cassandra

  • Sampson

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Carryl_Coles"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1264221731/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Carryl_Coles">Carryl Coles</a>:<br />Sampson's snow fort, Kamloops BC Jan 2013

  • Snowy Aurora

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Estrogenx"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1245512-2-tiny.png?20120117131032" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Estrogenx">Estrogenx</a>:<br />Beautiful Canadian winter scene

  • Winter Light

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Brian_S_Wyatt"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/681519072/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Brian_S_Wyatt">Brian S Wyatt</a>:<br />Sunnybrook Park, North York, Ontario, January 9, 2013

  • Beautiful Buck!

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Shelley_Angus_Adler"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/612595055/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Shelley_Angus_Adler">Shelley Angus Adler</a>:<br />Beautiful!

  • Snowed in

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Brian_Campbell_Canada"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Brian_Campbell_Canada">Brian Campbell Canada</a>:<br />After a 47 cm snowfall in Montreal, Quebec

  • Snowshoe in Rogers Pass

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jeremy_Luc_Hachey"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/799765000/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Jeremy_Luc_Hachey">Jeremy Luc Hachey</a>:<br />Stopped to stretch our legs in Rogers Pass (Dec. 16, 2012)

  • Oliver Horses

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/marikane"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/534243669/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/marikane">marikane</a>:<br />In Oliver BC everyone is friendly, even the horses. On the benchlands above town, we met these ranging horses.

  • White Tuesday in Toronto

    A winter view of some parts of Toronto.

  • <a href="https://twitter.com/DebraKirk/status/293814583569813504/photo/1">@DebraKirk: Lake Scugog, Ontario</a>

  • Bitter Cold

    A woman walks through a ravine in Toronto's east end on Tuesday January 22, 2013 as the city issues an extreme weather warning after temperatures drop to minus 24.

  • Sunset in Atlantic Canada

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/brideaumc"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/twitter_profile_img/4492441.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/brideaumc">brideaumc</a>:<br />Sunset in Caraquet New Brunswick taken on January 14th 2013. Temperatures went from 8c to -15c