air quality
A photo of Toronto from the CN Tower, taken on June 28, 2023, when the city's air quality was among the worst in the world. (Photo by Fin DePencier)

For many Canadian parents, the start of the summer holidays is turning into a headache, as thick wildfire smoke forces them to check air quality indices the same way they might normally check the weather forecast.

Major cities in Eastern Canada have faced heavy air pollution for several days, meaning vulnerable people — including children — have been advised to stay indoors to avoid the high concentrations of fine particles in the air.

Marion Helies, who heads a summer day camp in Montreal, told AFP the children in her care "are bouncing off the walls because we have been inside for several days."

"Between the smoke and the rain, it's a bit difficult for them," she said, ahead of a 10-minute outing she organized despite the poor air quality.

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