03/20/2012 12:30 EDT | Updated 05/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Canadian spring brings a tale of 2 climates

The first day of spring brought a tale of two climates to Canada today, with snow falling in parts of the West and summer-like weather in central Canada — and more on the way.

The spring equinox began at 1:14 a.m. ET, when the sun is directly over the equator and the northern and southern hemispheres get the same amount of sunlight.

According to Environment Canada, record temperatures are in store over the next few days through Ontario and Quebec.

"Look for all-time records over the next couple of days," CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said Tuesday morning. "There's a chance Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa could hit them."

Wednesday will likely be Toronto's warmest March day ever on record, with a forecast high of 26 C and a humidex of 30. Ottawa and Montreal will be close.

Yesterday, Winnipeg registered 23.7 C, the hottest ever recorded for a March day. Toronto touched 22.8, and Montreal 20.1.

Snow, freezing temperatures

At the coasts, both east and west, temperatures were less summery, to be sure. And across the Prairies, cold air moved in through Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Snow was falling in Prince Albert, Sask., Tuesday morning, with freezing overnight temperatures to continue through the week. An intense low pressure system continued to produce heavy snow over eastern Alberta, where totals close to 25 cm near the Saskatchewan border were still possible along with strong northwesterly winds.

Environment Canada was forecasting colder than normal temperatures in British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon. Even balmy Winnipeg will see cooler weather by the weekend, with freezing overnight temperatures Saturday and Sunday.

Similarly in Newfoundland, St. John's is expected to see below-freezing temperatures on Wednesday, with rain and snow following on Thursday and Friday.