Close to 500 warming spaces available in the City of Toronto
Based on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s forecast, the Medical Officer of Health has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert (ECWA) today for Toronto in anticipation of the cold weather conditions forecasted for the next 24 hours or longer. The ECWA will be in effect until further notice.
ECWAs are issued when temperatures are forecasted to reach -15 degrees Celsius or colder, or when the wind chill is forecast to reach -20 degrees Celsius or colder. Other weather-related factors may also be considered when issuing ECWAs.
ECWAs are issued to ensure Toronto residents take necessary precautions to stay safe from the cold. They also activate local services that focus on getting and keeping vulnerable residents inside.
The City’s Warming Centres at the following locations will remain open:
- 129 Peter St.
- 5800 Yonge St.
- Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 195 Princes’ Blvd
A fourth Warming Centre will be activated at 1684 Queen Street East. It replaces the Warming Centre typically located at the Scarborough Civic Centre which is currently unavailable for this use due to construction.
Generally, Warming Centres open at 7 p.m. on the day an alert is issued and remain open until noon on the day an alert is terminated.
As well, additional Streets to Homes outreach teams will continue to provide enhanced street outreach response to help support and encourage those living outside to come indoors. Throughout the winter, outreach staff hands out blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter clothing.
Warming Centres will provide approximately 165 spaces, in addition to the more than 325 new spaces created through the City’s 2021/2022 Winter Services Plan. Over the past five years, the City has continuously added and maintained new capacity in the shelter system. As a result, the number of beds currently available for single individuals and couples experiencing homelessness is at a five-year high. For complete information about this year’s winter plan, see here.
All services at the Warming Centres will be delivered following ongoing public health recommendations regarding COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of those using the centres. These measures include physical distancing, the mandatory use of masks, hand washing, conducting symptom screening and monitoring, enhanced cleaning procedures, and providing transportation to isolation and recovery sites for individuals that await results or test positive.