OTTAWA -- Ottawa residents wasted no time getting outside to enjoy the warmest day of the year so far.

"The weather is fabulous. Long awaited and I hope it stays," said Mary while enjoying lunch on an Elgin Street restaurant patio.

The temperature warmed to 8C at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the warmest temperature recorded so far in 2021 at the Ottawa Airport.

Environment Canada had called for a high of 12C on Wednesday.

According to the Twitter account @YOW_Weather, the typical first day with a high of 8C is Feb. 19. The latest was April 22, 1939

The Rideau Canal pathway was busy Wednesday afternoon with joggers and walkers taking advantage of the warmer weather to get some fresh air.

"Perfection. We are celebrating this early spring."

Ottawa medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches is encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, but remember to practice physical distancing, limit social contacts and wear a mask.

"These are the core behaviours we need to keep going for the next several months," said Etches. "Distancing and masking, but getting outside is excellent. It is better than being indoors."

The forecast calls for a low of plus 4C Wednesday night. There is a chance of showers overnight.

Thursday's forecast is mainly cloudy with a chance of showers in the morning. A few showers beginning late in the afternoon with a high of 11C.

Friday will see sunny skies and a high of 6C.

While the warm temperatures are a welcome relief, don't put the winter clothing away just yet. Saturday will see mainly sunny skies and a high of minus 1C and a low of minus 8C.

Sunday will see sunny skies and a high of 2C, a low of minus 15C.