As Toronto gears up for a hot and humid week, the City has announced the locations of 14 cooling centres for residents who may not have access to an air-conditioned space or cannot keep cool in their homes or outdoors.
On Monday, Environment Canada issued a Heat Warning for Toronto, as extreme heat is expected for Tuesday through Wednesday.
According to the weather agency, a hot air mass approaching the region will bring daytime temperatures in the low thirties over the next couple of days. On Tuesday, a high of 31ºC is expected, which will feel more like 38ºC with the humidex, by the evening, lows between 20 and 22 degrees celsius are expected. On Wednesday, humidex values are expected to creep in the mid to high thirties.
Many facilities that were part of the City’s 2019 Heat Relief Network of cool spaces across Toronto are currently closed due to COVID, and for this reason, the City’s plan for heat relief this year has been modified and includes 14 Emergency Cooling Centres that will open across Toronto during Heat Warnings.
The City warns that extreme heat is associated with negative health impacts ranging from heat stress to heatstroke and death and during periods of hot weather, the safety of all residents is the priority.
During the 2020 hot weather season, the Emergency Cooling Centres will offer a publicly accessible, air-conditioned place for residents to rest indoors and receive a cool drink. Staff who are trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat will be on hand.
All the centres will operate during Heat Warnings only, from 11 am to 7 pm, except Metro Hall, which will run 24 hours during these weather warnings. Amid the COVID pandemic, strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.
If you or someone you know doesn’t have access to a cool space during the upcoming heat warning, you can use this map to find the cooling centre nearest you.
In addition to visiting the cooling centres, the City encourages residents to take the following actions to help beat the heat:
- 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.
The City says Environment Canada issues 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.