Ottawa City Hall opening as emergency cooling centre

OTTAWA — Ottawa City Hall is opening as an emergency cooling centre as temperatures in the capital continue to soar above 30 C.

Six cooling centres will now be open Friday across the city to help provide people some relief from the heat, with the temperature expected to reach 35 C with a humidex of 43.

City Hall will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with access through the Lisgar Street entrance. The McNabb Arena on Percy Street is also operating with those hours.

In addition, four other cooling centres will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.:

  • Bernard-Grandmaître Arena, 309 McArthur Road
  • Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, 102 Greenview Avenue
  • Heron Road Community Centre, 1480 Heron Road
  • Jules Morin Park Fieldhouse, 400 Clarence Street East

Somerset ward Coun. Catherine McKenney had been calling for cooling centres downtown, including City Hall.

Environment Canada’s top weather forecaster says Ottawa is sweating through what could be the “longest bout” of consecutive days with temperatures above 30 C in history.

“July 1 to now, eight days in a row and we have still three days to come. So probably the longest bout of 30C temperatures in Ottawa in history,” said David Phillips, Environment Canada senior climatologist, during an interview with CTV Morning Live.

At the Salvation Army, the Outreach Services team is preparing to head back on the road. Loading their van with water and sandwiches and other necessities, they are driving throughout the city and handing them out for those living on the streets who may not go to shelters.

“This morning within a couple hours we handed out probably about two cases of water,” says Melanie Pratt, a member of the Salvation Army Outreach street team. “People are really looking for water trying to get some food as well … food resources have been a little bit short because of COVID so that’s another barrier as well.”

In light of the heat wave, the Outreach program, which also helps people find housing, has extended their hours on the road from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

At city beaches, to help with accessibility, water-accessible wheelchairs are available to rent at all three city beaches for free.

Travis Westerberg, recreation supervisor with Ottawa beaches says they are available to rent in 30-minute blocks but can be rented longer if there is availability.

“Our purpose of the Ottawa beach is to be as accessible as we can for everybody to enjoy and basically enjoy have fun in the sun and beat the heat.”

While the forecast calls for temperatures to be a “little cooler” on the weekend, Phillips says it won’t be the end of the hot and humid weather this summer.

“It’s short lived. We see next week, we’re back up into the 30s again,” he said.

– With files from CTV’s Josh Pringle

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