Toronto emergency cooling centres are open
Toronto has been issued another Heat Warning by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) which is anticipated to last until Friday, August 20. Slightly cooler temperatures are expected on Saturday.
ECCC says, hot and humid conditions are expected today and possibly into early next week. The Maximum temperatures are expected to reach 30 to 32 degrees Celsius, with humidex values 36 to 40.
Slightly cooler temperatures are expected on Saturday and Sunday before a possible rebound in temperatures early next week.
As such, the City’s Emergency Cooling Centres will open tomorrow, Friday, August 20 at 11 a.m.
ECCC issues a Heat Warning when it forecasts two or more consecutive days with daytime maximum temperatures of 31°C or warmer, together with minimum nighttime temperatures of 20°C or warmer, or when there is a forecast of two or more consecutive days with humidex values expected to reach 40 or higher.
Extreme heat is associated with negative health impacts ranging from heat stress to heat stroke and death. During periods of hot weather, the safety of all residents is the priority.
The City’s Heat Relief Strategy has been updated for the 2021 hot weather season, in response to COVID-19, to ensure that emergency heat relief opportunities are available and accessible to those who may need them. Many facilities that were part of the City’s 2019 Heat Relief Network of cool spaces across Toronto are closed due to COVID-19, as they were in 2020. For this reason, the City’s plan for heat relief this year has been modified and includes a select number of Emergency Cooling Centres that will open across Toronto during Heat Warnings.
Starting August 20, at 11 a.m., eight locations will offer a publicly accessible, air-conditioned place to rest indoors and receive a drink. All City services will be delivered following ongoing COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of those using the Emergency Cooling Centres. This includes encouraging physical distancing, the mandatory use of masks, and hand washing. Staff who are trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat will be on hand. Strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Emergency Cooling Centres will operate at the following locations during Heat Warnings only, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Metro Hall, which will run 24 hours during Heat Warnings:
- East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave.
- Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall
- Metro Hall – 55 John St.
- North York Civic Centre – 5100 Yonge St.
- Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr.
- Domenico Di Luca Community Centre – 25 Stanley Rd.
- Don Montgomery Community Centre – 2467 Eglinton Ave.
- Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre, 220 Cowan Ave.
An interactive map is available to help those who need to locate an Emergency Cooling Centre and other heat relief locations such as outdoor and indoor pools, splash pads, wading pools, libraries and community centres.
To note, community centres are only open during their regular operating hours (some may not be open on the weekend) and do not provide the same services as Emergency Cooling Centres.
In addition to the Emergency Cooling Centres, during Heat Warnings, two outreach teams (Streets to Homes and Fred Victor Keep Cool Project) will do additional wellness checks, advising people living outside of the open Emergency Cooling Centre locations, providing them with water, and recommending that if they stay outdoors, to move to a shaded area.
The City’s updated 2021 Heat Relief Strategy reflects the current public health advice related to COVID-19, with guidance for safely operating apartment building cooling rooms and other tips for apartment building landlords and tenants. More information for landlords is available here
Landlords are required to post information on the closest Cooling Centre on their tenant notification board, as well as an air-conditioned space or shady area on their property that may be accessible to all tenants.
The City continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will adapt its emergency heat relief strategy as needed, while keeping people safe from COVID-19. As more public places are permitted to operate, the City will look to expand access to cool spaces through the Heat Relief Network, which may include other City facilities and several private and non-profit organizations.
Toronto pools and splash pads are a good option for heat relief
Residents can also seek relief from the heat at indoor and outdoor pools. Find your nearest location, hours of operation and make a reservation by visiting here
The City’s splash pads operate daily from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and are activated through push-button features. Caregivers are reminded to supervise children closely, as these water play areas are not supervised by City staff. More information on City splash pads and locations is available here
Lifeguards are on duty at beaches and supervise designated swim areas seven days a week, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information about the City’s swimming beaches and beach safety is available here or by calling 311.
Community agencies are encouraged to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call, text or video chat with those clients who are at increased risk of heat-related illness during Heat Warnings.
There are a number of actions individuals can take to beat the heat and stay safe:
- Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of water even before you feel thirsty.
- Check on others. Call, text or video chat with family, friends and neighbours (especially older adults living alone) to make sure they’re staying hydrated and keeping cool.
- Take cool showers or baths or use cool, wet towels to cool down.
- Use a fan near an open window to bring in cooler air from outside.
- Avoid the sun. Stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
- Dress for the weather. Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and, if outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Block the sun. Keep blinds or curtains closed during the day.
- Protect people and pets. Never leave a person or pet inside a parked car.
- Avoid using the oven or stove; they make your space hotter.
- Consult with your doctor or pharmacist on medications that increase your risk to heat.
- In an emergency, always call 911. Call 911 if you have or someone you are with has a high body temperature, is confused, is unconscious, or has fainted.
More tips to protect yourself from the heat are available here . When a Heat Warning is declared, those who need assistance or have heat-related inquiries can call 311.
Information to help residents prepare for extreme weather and weatherproof their homes is available here
Air pollution often increases during hot weather conditions. People with heart and lung conditions, seniors and parents/guardians of young children should pay special attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index levels and forecasts available here
Individuals are encouraged to download Environment and Climate Change Canada’s WeatherCAN app to stay up to date on heat warnings and special weather statements. Information on WeatherCAN can be found here.