Aug 27, 2018

By Jane Brown

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It’s the last week of August, but it’s still Summer! In fact, there’s a heat warning now in effect for Toronto and the GTA with a few days of 30-plus celcius temperatures in the forecast. Environment Canada meteorologists say a hot and humid air mass is forecast to reach our area Monday and remain in place until Wednesday. Temperatures will feel into the low 40s when you factor in the humidity.

Older adults, young children, pregnant women, those who work outside and people with chronic illnesses are among those who are most at risk from the extended heat.

In addition to swimming pools, beaches and air-conditioned shopping malls, Toronto has 180 air-conditioned community centres and local libraries in neighbourhoods across the city. For people experiencing homelessness, TTC tokens are available at several drop-ins throughout the city to be used to get to cool places.

There are also many other places where people can go to escape the heat, including the City of Toronto’s cooling centres. These locations are air-conditioned places for people to rest indoors and receive a cool drink and light snack. Staff who are trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat are on hand at the seven cooling centre locations. These locations along with a comprehensive list of air-conditioned spaces across the city where residents can go to escape the heat are available here.

Members of the public are advised to beat the heat by taking these precautions:
• Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty.
• Go to air-conditioned places such as shopping malls, local libraries and community centres.
• Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down.
• Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and, when outdoors, wear a
wide-brimmed hat.
• Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella.
• Reschedule or plan outdoor activities so they take place during cooler parts of the day.
• Make sure that elderly people, children or pets are not left unattended in a car.

Landlords of buildings without air conditioning are encouraged to provide a dedicated cooling room for vulnerable residents to escape the heat. Community agencies are encouraged to educate clients on the risks of heat-related illness and to call or check on those clients who are at increased risk of heat-related illness during warnings.

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