TORONTO, Ont. – The extreme heat alert, as well as humidex and smog advisories, have ended for Toronto, Friday. The alerts and advisories went into effect on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Humidex and smog advisories have also ended for much of Ontario, including the GTA and cottage country.
On Thursday, the temperature at Pearson hit 34.4 C, which beat the old record of 33.3 C, which was set over 60 years ago in 1949.
Toronto was not the only place breaking heat records in Ontario. Record heats were also recorded in Bancroft, Burlington, Cobourg, Collingwood, Hamilton, Mt. Forest,Ottawa where temperatures hit 34.6C breaking the record of 33.9 which was set in 1941, Point Petre, Port Weller and Windsor.
The heat affected the 401 at Avenue Road, with the pavement buckling due to the heat. It has since been fixed.
CN and CPR Rail said trains will move slower today because of safety restrictions during extreme heat, which can cause steel rails to expand.
Summer officially arrived on Wednesday at 7:09 p.m. ET.
The city also smashed a 24-year-old temperature record on Wednesday. The temperature at Pearson International Airport hit 34.6 C, which broke the previous high of 34.4 C, set in 1949 and 1988.
Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips told 680News this heat will break starting Friday.
“What we’re going to see is almost Canadian air; it’s going to be fresh, it’s going to be near normal temperatures slightly below,” Phillips said.
“We have calls on the go right now of heat-related emergencies, so it’s very important that people stay indoors where there’s air conditioning, stay cool, hydrate themselves,” a Toronto EMS worker told CityNews, Wednesday.
On Wednesday, several schools in Toronto did not have air conditioning. They include but are not limited to: Driftwood P.S., Tumpane P.S., Shoreham P.S. and Gosford P.S., in addition to many of the older schools in the Jane corridor between Finch and Eglinton. Many downtown schools have been left sweltering as well. Whether a school has air conditioning or not depends partly on how old the building is.
“For our elementary schools that don’t have air conditioning, staff are doing a great job and just doing everything possible to keep kids cool, whether that’s keeping the lights off, closing the blinds, limiting physical activity, making sure kids are hydrated,” the Toronto District School Board’s Ryan Bird said.
Meanwhile, business commuters who take GO Transit were also warned that the heat caused swelling of the train tracks in some areas, meaning trains must move at reduced speeds to ensure safe travel. This meant some rides may take up to 20 minutes longer than normal.
During an extreme heat alert, the city’s cooling centres are open. They are:
- Metro Hall – 55 John St. (24 hours)
- East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- North York Civic Centre – 5100 Yonge St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- Driftwood Community Centre – 4401 Jane St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- Etobicoke Olympium – 590 Rathburn Rd. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- McGregor Community Centre – 2231 Lawrence Ave. E. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- Centennial Park Community Centre – 1967 Ellesmere Rd. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
People can also go to one of the many air-conditioned public spaces across the city. List of A/C spaces
Also, the public is encouraged to check on family, friends and neighbours, especially isolated adults and seniors, who are at greater risk of suffering from heat-related illness. Go to the Toronto Public Health‘s website for ways to “beat the heat.”
Of course, the heat means those air conditioners are being cranked to high, but Toronto Hydro is reminding customers to conserve energy because until 5 p.m., customers pay peak prices for hydro. Excessive energy use can also cause power outages.
A tweet from Toronto Hydro on Thursday said: “We’re currently experiencing a number of localized power outages across the city due to warmer weather conditions.”
Some tips on how to conserve energy include: cooling your home overnight when hydro rates are lower, turning off your air conditioner when not at home, and keeping window shades drawn during the afternoon to minimize the heat created by the sun.
On Tuesday, peak usage was measured at 4,425 megawatts – approximately 448 megawatts higher than an average day. Consumption was expected to jump again on Wednesday.
This is the first extreme heat alert of 2012 for Toronto. In 2011, there were five such alerts.
The city expects the extreme heat to last until Thursday, making this the first official heatwave of 2012. It’s considered a heat wave when there are three or more days of 32 C or higher.
York Region is reminding its residents to follow the region’s water conservation bylaws, which are now in effect for the entire summer. Details here
A heat alert also continues for Brampton and Oakville, while a heat advisory remains in effect for York Region. An extreme heat alert was issued for Markham.
In Brampton, the following cooling centres will be open Tuesday-Friday, from noon to 10 p.m.: South Fletcher’s Sportsplex, Earnscliffe Recreation Centre, Century Gardens Recreation Centre and Cassie Campbell Community Centre. The atrium at Brampton City Hall will also be open as a cooling station, from noon to 4:30 pm.
Two cooling centres are open in Newmarket: Magna Centre from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and the Newmarket Public Library from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday -Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Residents can also go to one of Newmarket’s public swimming pools: Ray Twinney Complex and the Metro Aquatic Centre at the Magna Centre.
Cooling centres and some pools are open in Oakville, Vaughan, Mississauga and in Markham. Click on the links for the lists.
Taylor said the last earliest June heat wave in Toronto was June 16-18, 1994 — recorded at Pearson International Airport. Temperatures were as follows:
- June 16 – 32.7 C
- June 17 – 33.3 C
- June 18 – 36.2 C
With high levels of humidity in the forecast, it is expected to be hot and uncomfortable around much of the GTA. Environment Canada warns suggests people try to stay in air-conditioned places or seek shade when possible, drink plenty of water and limit physical outdoor activity.
Meanwhile, the Bare Oaks Naturist Park off of Kennedy Road in East Gwillimbury believes ”au naturel” is the best state to be in on a day with an extreme heat advisory, and is the best way to keep cool.
Park officials have invited first time visitors to take a dip in the pool or their lake at no charge – no swimsuit required, but only until 4 p.m.