Tips from Toronto Public Health for a Safe and Healthy Summer

With the arrival of warmer temperatures, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is sharing some updates on the City's hot weather response and tips to enjoy summer in a safe and active way during hot weather.  

Find a cool space

This year residents will be able to access cool spaces across the city at more than 270 locations throughout the summer as part of the City’s expanded Heat Relief Network.

An interactive map allows residents to locate the cool space closest to them: http://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/health-programs-advice/hot-weather/cool-spaces-near-you/

All locations are open to residents during business hours. The network also includes shelters and 24-hour respite centres that are available for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Beat the heat

  • Check on vulnerable groups and loved ones that are at risk, including isolated adults and seniors, people with chronic illnesses, and infants and young children.
  • Ensure that elderly people, children or pets are not left unattended in a car. Make "look before you leave" a routine whenever you get out of the car.
  • Avoid the sun and seek shade in cool areas, or use an umbrella.
  • Wear loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even before you feel thirsty.
  • Go to air-conditioned places such as shopping malls, local libraries and community centres.
  • Find more information about how to beat the heat at http://www.toronto.ca/keepcool.

Be sun safe

  • Cover up with long-sleeved clothing and a wide-brimmed hat and protect your eyes using UVA/UVB protective sunglasses.
  • Protect exposed skin by using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, labelled "broad spectrum" and "water resistant," as well as sunscreen lip balm to protect your lips.
  • Reapply sunscreen and lip balm when needed, especially after swimming, sweating or towelling.
  • Locate free sunscreen dispensers at City parks and find more tips to protect yourself from the sun at http://www.besunsafe.ca.
  • Limit direct sun exposure between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when ultraviolet radiation exposure is the strongest.   

Go for a dip

  • Swimming is a great way to stay healthy, physically active and keep cool in the summer weather.
  • Supervise children when in or around water, use lifejackets and consider getting trained in first aid and CPR.
  • From June to Labour Day, Toronto Public Health inspectors work behind the scenes to make sure City beaches, seasonal public pools, wading pools and water slides are ready to be safely enjoyed.
  • Through SwimSafe, facilities are given either a Pass, Conditional Pass or Closed based the results of an inspection.
  • Look for the colour-coded SwimSafe signage on display at any of the City's recreational water facilities including pools, spas, splash pads and water slides.
  • Each of the City's 11 beaches have water samples tested daily to reduce the incidence of water-borne illness and injury.
  • Warning signs are posted at lifeguard stations when water quality poses a health risk.
  • Find daily inspection result updates on beach water quality at http://www.toronto.ca/health/swimsafe  

Beginning this year, to avoid duplication with the heat warnings issued by Environment Canada, Toronto Public Health will no longer issue these warnings to the public as they are already communicated broadly. In addition, this summer, rather than providing a separate service of seven Cooling Centres, the public will be able to access cool spaces across the city at over 270 locations as part of the Heat Relief Network. Access to cooling for people experiencing homelessness will also be available at existing services for vulnerable populations such as shelters, drop-ins and respite centres. For more information, please visit http://www.toronto.ca/health