Extreme Weather

Extreme heat

In the future, Toronto is expected to experience much higher temperatures and more extended heat waves.

By the year 2050, Toronto is expected to see*:

  • the average daily maximum rise to 44°C, up from 37°C in 2009;
  • 66 days above 30°C, up from 20 days;
  • four times as many extended heatwaves per year.

*Source: Toronto's Future Weather and Climate Driver Study, 2011

Heat Warnings and Extended Heat Warnings will be issued by Toronto Public Health. Learn more about heat warnings and Toronto Public Health's Hot Weather Plan (PDF).

ExpandKnow your risks

During the summer, the combination of high heat, humidity, and smog can be life-threatening, especially for: 

  • the elderly, young children and those who are ill or overweight;
  • people who exercise vigorously or are involved in strenuous work outdoors for prolonged periods;
  • people taking certain medications, for example, for mental health conditions.

The higher the temperature and the longer it lasts, the greater the risk of death during a heat wave. 

High levels of air pollution often occur during hot weather conditions. People with heart and lung conditions, seniors and children should pay special attention to the hourly Air Quality Health Index levels and forecasts.

The risk of power outages also increases during periods of extreme heat as the demand for electricity can exceed the capacity of the electrical system.

ExpandActions you can take now

Get emergency ready — the basics 

  • Prepare an emergency kit and emergency plan, and make sure everyone in your family knows what to do during an emergency. Get Emergency Ready
  • Check your insurance policy: Whether you own or rent your home, check your insurance policy and/or speak with your provider to ensure that you have adequate insurance and that you understand what is - and what is not - covered by your policy.
  • Sign up for Public Weather Alerts.

Tips to help you beat the heat

 
Tips to make your home more comfortable

 
Know what to do during an extreme heat event

  • Review the information in the next section of this website to make sure you know in advance what to do during periods of extreme heat.     


Programs and incentives

  • Learn about the programs and incentives available to help you deal with extreme heat. See the programs and incentives section, below. 

ExpandDuring extreme heat

The basics:

  • Check for weather alerts and advisories before you go outdoors:
  • Check the Air Quality Health Index and Smog alerts.
  • Call or visit at-risk family, friends or neighbours (especially seniors living alone) to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids and keeping cool.

  • During an emergency, listen to the authorities and follow directions.

Tips to prevent heat related illness:

  • Drink lots of cool water even before you feel thirsty
  • Go to an air conditioned place such as a shopping mall, library or community centre
  • Wear loose light coloured breathable clothing; when outdoors wear a wide-brimmed hat
  • Avoid the sun and stay in the shade or use an umbrella
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day
  • Take cool showers or baths or use cool wet towels to cool down
  • Keep blinds or drapes closed to block out the sun during the day
  • Make meals that don't use an oven, especially if you don’t have air conditioning
  • Never leave a person or pet inside a parked car or in the direct sunlight
  • Consult with your doctor or pharmacist on medications that increase your risk to heat

 

Places to stay cool:

 

General information:  

 

ExpandAfter extreme heat

The basics:

  • Check on family, friends and neighbours, especially seniors and those with special needs.
  • Check in and around your home for damage, including damage to utilities. Learn more.

 

General information:

In the event of a power outage:


Feeling anxious or depressed?

Some people may experience anxiety after an extreme weather event, particularly if it causes damage or displacement. You may want to talk to your doctor if you are feeling depressed or anxious. 

Related programs and incentives

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Heat Warnings and Extended Heat Warnings

Toronto Public Health will issue warnings for high heat or humidity that is expected to last two or more days. During this time, heat warning information will be updated daily to reflect the current status, and people should take steps to seek cool temperatures and check on vulnerable family and neighbours to make sure they are alright.

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City cooling centres and air conditioned spaces

During an extreme heat event, residents are advised to visit an air conditioned place such as a shopping mall, library or community centre. The City also operates cooling centres to help residents stay cool.

People swimming in outside pool on a hot day. The pool has a big yellow slide.

Extended pool hours during an Extreme Heat Alert

Taking a dip in Toronto's pools is a great way to stay cool and be safe during the hot summer months in the city. When an Extreme Heat Alert is declared, and when the weather forecast calls for low probability of inclement weather, some outdoor and indoor pools may extend their hours until 11:45 p.m.

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Home Energy Loan Program

Improving the energy-efficiency of your home will make your home more comfortable, reduce your energy use and costs, and reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change. The City offers low-interest loans for improvements such as energy-efficient furnaces, windows, doors and insulation. 

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Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)

Extreme heat and cold can increase your energy use, and your energy bills. LEAP provides a one-time grant of up to $500 (per year) to eligible low-income customers who have difficulty paying past due energy bills.

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Eco-Roof Incentive Program

In addition to reducing stormwater runoff, green roofs reduce energy use and heating/cooling costs, help to cool the air, and provide important habitat for wildlife. The City offers financial incentives to help homeowners install a green roof or cool roof on their property. Learn more.

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Request a free tree from the City

In addition to providing shade and helping to cool and clean the air, trees help prevent flooding and beautify our surroundings.The City of Toronto will plant a free tree on the City-owned road allowance adjacent to your property. Call 311 or visit 311 online to request a free tree. Learn more.