Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman announced the city’s plans in response to the upcoming extreme heat at a press conference today.
Winnipeggers can expect the same heat wave that has been affecting other provinces this week in Western Canada with temperatures as high as 37 C over the weekend.
Bowman says given what they’ve seen in other provinces during this heat wave and out of concern for residents, the city will continue to advocate that the provincial government do more and have requested a cooling centre for downtown.
In the meantime, however, the city has plans in place to help.
“A tent will be set up in central park staffed by city staff and downtown community safety partnership staff and water will be made available,” Bowman said.
“The majority of the city’s outdoor pools and splash pads will be open and the main floor of the Susan A Thompson building at city hall will be opening as a cooling centre.”
Public officials have stated the immediate dangers associated with such high temperatures and highlighted the importance for people to take care of themselves and to try to stay cool.
“We’re talking about heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and these are serious health concerns that when you do have high temperatures can affect people severely,” said Emergency Operations Manager Jason Shaw.
People that don’t have access to air conditioning are being encouraged to find a cool area.
“If you don’t have air conditioning at home, consider going to a cool place such as a mall, a community centre, public library or a place of worship, but do ensure that these sites will be open before you go, because we know that the hours in different sites will be different tomorrow and again, different on the weekend,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, head of Manitoba’s vaccine task force.
If people have appointments to get their COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, they are being advised to come prepared.
“If you’re planning on attending a vaccine clinic and you expect that, you might have to wait outside, please bring some water, put on sunscreen and wear a hat,” said Reimer.
Reimer added that heat can have serious effects on people’s physical health, mental well-being and cognitive ability, saying heat illnesses can and should be prevented.