Corp Comm Connects

Toronto to open eight emergency cooling centres as temps soar
Aug. 11, 2021

Toronto will be opening up eight emergency cooling centres across the city on Wednesday, Aug. 11 after Environment Canada issued a heat warning.

Starting at 11 a.m., anyone needing some relief from heat can visit 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., and Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre, 220 Cowan Ave.

These publicly accessible, air-conditioned emergency cooling centres, which only operate during heat warnings, will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Metro Hall, which will be open 24 hours a day. Staff trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat will be on hand.

All emergency cooling centres will be following ongoing health and safety protocols like encouraging physical distancing, mandatory mask wearing, and hand washing.

During heat warnings, which are issued when the forecast calls for two or more consecutive days with daytime maximum temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius or more, coupled with minimum nighttime temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius or hotter, when there is a forecast of two or more consecutive days with humidex values expected to reach 40 or higher, the City also deploys two outreach teams from Streets to Homes and the Fred Victor Keep Cool Project to do additional wellness checks. People who don’t live near an emergency cooling centre and who remain outdoors are offered water and encouraged to move to a shaded area.

The City is also urging community agencies to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call, text, or video chat with those at increased risk of heat-related illness during heat warnings.

“During periods of hot weather, the safety of all residents is the priority,” the City said in an Aug. 10 news release, adding extreme heat is associated with negative health impacts ranging from heat stress to heat stroke, and even death. Young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, and those working or exercising outdoors have the greatest risk of being negatively affected by the heat.

“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,” a City of Toronto release said.

An interactive map of all emergency cooling centres as well as more information about cool spaces like outdoor and indoor pools, splash pads, wading pools, libraries, and community centres can be found on the City’s Staying Healthy in Hot Weather web page.

Anyone in need of immediate assistance should call 911, while anyone with a heat-related inquiry should call 311.