City of Toronto encourages residents to keep cool with tips to beat the heat during upcoming hot weather

2023 June 1

Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a Heat Warning for Toronto, forecasting daytime high temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius for Thursday, June 1 until the evening of Friday, June 2, when cooler air is expected to arrive.

Hot weather can cause negative health effects such as heat stress, heat stroke and even death. Individuals who are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses include seniors, people with pre-existing conditions, low-income and socially isolated people and young children. To help ensure the safety and wellbeing of all residents during the summer season, the City of Toronto activates its Heat Relief Strategy from May 15 to September 30 each year. A key part of the strategy is the Heat Relief Network, where people can access a variety of cool spaces across the city to help them beat the heat.

The Heat Relief Network provides an all-summer response that maximizes existing City and community resources to protect residents from the heat. The network consists of more than 550 publicly accessible cool spaces across the city, such as libraries, community centres, indoor pools, splash pads and civic centres, as well as some private and non-profit facilities like shopping malls, senior centres and YMCA locations. The network also includes emergency shelters, drop-ins and 24-hour respite sites which are available to individuals experiencing homelessness. All available locations can be found by visiting the Cool Spaces Near You interactive map.

During this first heat event of the season, the City encourages residents to prioritize their safety and seek out cool spaces when needed.

Throughout the summer season, as part of the Heat Relief Strategy, multiple City divisions, agencies and partner organizations provide ongoing direct services, including:

  • Outreach to those living outdoors to encourage them to seek heat relief available at emergency shelters, drop-ins, and 24-hour respite sites.
  • Educating landlords about their obligations to residents, including communicating the locations of cool spaces on the property that are accessible to all tenants and can offer relief from uncomfortably hot temperatures.
  • Operating some public cooling sites on extended hours temporarily based on weather risks and resource availability.

People can stay up to date on heat warnings and other special weather statements by downloading Environment and Climate Change Canada’s WeatherCAN app. Information on WeatherCAN can be found on the federal WeatherCAN webpage .

In addition to using the WeatherCAN app, there are a number of ways to beat the heat and stay safe:

  • Drink plenty of cool water, even when not feeling thirsty.
  • Go to air-conditioned spaces or other cool places (e.g. swimming pool).
  • Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Consult a doctor or pharmacist to learn how medications could increase one’s risk to heat.
  • Check on at-risk family, friends or neighbours, especially seniors living alone.

More tips for preventing heat-related illness are available on the City’s Staying Healthy in Hot Weather webpage.

If you are with someone who is confused, unconscious or has fainted and you think it is from the heat, call 911.

Due to climate change, Toronto is expected to experience higher summer temperatures, unpredictable weather and more extremely hot days. Information to help residents prepare for extreme weather and weatherproofing their homes is available on the City’s Types of Emergencies webpage.