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City increasing access to cool spaces this summer

Last Updated May 12, 2019 at 3:23 pm EDT

A thermometre showing 40 C. GETTY IMAGES/artpartner-images

Toronto Public Health (TPH) along with other city divisions is ramping up its response to heat this summer.

In a release, TPH said it will be organizing a city-wide heat relief strategy with the creation of a Heat Relief Network.

The network includes libraries, community centres and pools, some civic centres and city facilities as well as drop-ins and several private and non-profit organizations, including some shopping malls and YMCA locations.

In total, access to cool spaces will be expanded from 180 to approximately 270 locations across the city which will be available throughout the summer season, rather than the seven occasional cooling centres which are open only on days when a heat warning is issued. However, the community and city facilities that served as those cooling centres will still be open during their regular business hours and provide cool space within the expanded Heat Relief Network.

In addition, TPH says to avoid doubling up, it will no longer issue heat warnings or send email notifications about them since Environment and Climate Change Canada already sends them out and they are “communicated broadly.”

Heat warnings are sent out when it is expected to be 31 C or warmer during the day for two or more consecutive days along with night time minimum 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.

TPH is encouraging people to follow the City of Toronto on social media and download Environment and Climate Change Canada’s WeatherCAN app to stay up to date on heat warnings.

Click here for the city’s new heat-related webpage and see all cool space locations: www.toronto.ca/KeepCool