Stifling heat calls for opening of emergency cooling centres
Toronto opened its Emergency Cooling Centres because of the heat wave and high humidity.
Environment Canada issued a heat warning for Toronto, where expected highs of between 31 C and 34 C and high levels of humidity were expected for Tuesday.
The city changed its Heat Relief Strategy for 2021, allowing the cooling centres to open although there are COVID-19 restrictions in place, including contact tracing protocols. Emergency cooling facilities in Toronto were closed in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“Extreme heat is associated with negative health impacts ranging from heat stress to heat stroke and death,” the city said. “During periods of hot weather, the safety of all residents is the priority.”
Anthony Malik, a volunteer at the Nork York Civic Centre cooling station in the Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue area, said no one is being turned away.
“We are not rejecting people, we have isolation rooms where people with COVID-related symptoms or sick individuals can rest,” Malik told Humber News. “We have (a) form to fill, so later if any individual experiences any COVID related symptoms we can locate them, we have your address, we have your phone number.”
The eight facilities are located across Toronto:
- Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall
- Metro Hall – 55 John Street
- North York Civic Centre – 5100 Yonge Street
- Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Drive
- Domenico Di Luca Community Centre – 25 Stanley Road
- Don Montgomery Community Centre – 2467 Eglinton Avenue
- Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre, 220 Cowan Avenue
- East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Avenue
These centres will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. while Metro Hall will be open 24 hours.
There are a number of ways to protect oneself from the heat: