A man walking through the street at night

City opening warming centres and preparing for season’s first significant snowfall

November 28 2022 –

With snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast this week, we are reminding residents to be prepared and are opening additional indoor spaces for people experiencing homelessness. We are monitoring the weather and a coordinated response plan is underway. 

Snow and ice treatment

We prioritize snow and ice treatment, with a focus on:

  • Major roads and bus routes
  • Bridges and bridge sidewalks
  • Main streets adjacent to major hospitals
  • The four major pedestrian pathways - Arbutus Greenway, Central Valley Greenway, False Creek Seawall, and Coal Harbour Seawall
  • The 16 most-used bike routes

Residential side streets are not included as part of our treatment plans, with the exception of priority hills and access routes to hospitals and schools.

How you can help

There are many things residents can do to help keep our city safe:

  • On snow days, only take essential trips. This helps keep the roads clear for our crews who are out treating snow and ice on the roads.
  • If you need to be on the roads, travel with caution and please give way to, or stay at a safe distance when following a plow, salt or brine truck.
  • Equip your vehicle with the right tires for the conditions. 
  • If your car is parked on a major route, please move it to a side street to make room for plows.
  • Remove snow before it hardens to ice. Vancouver property owners and tenants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the full width of sidewalks that surround their property by 10am on the morning following a snowfall. This bylaw is in effect seven days a week. Failure to remove snow and ice may result in fines.
  • If you are unable to clear your walk and have no other alternatives, you are encouraged to sign up for the Snow Angel Program where volunteers are matched with people with mobility issues to help clear their sidewalks.

Support for people sleeping outside

To ensure that people sleeping outside can come into warm, safe spaces during Vancouver’s coldest months, along with our partners we are once again activating a variety of spaces to encourage people to come in from the cold. Due to very cold weather and forecasted snow this week, we will open a number of warming centres, starting tonight, Monday, November 28.  

These centres are in addition to temporary winter shelters, which are open every night between November and March.

Warming centres

Warming centres will be open at the following locations:

  • Powell Street Getaway (DTES) – Opens the night of Monday, November 28 
    • 450 East Hastings Street 
    • 9pm to 7:30am 
  • Odd Fellows Hall (Fairview) – Opens the night of Tuesday, November 29 
    • 1433 West 8th Avenue 
    • 9:30pm to 8:30am 
  • Marpole Neighbourhood House – Opens the night of Monday, November 28
    • 8585 Hudson Street  
    • 10pm to 8:30am   

Warming Centres are open when the temperature feels like -5°C or below, as a life-saving measure for people sleeping outside. While they are not set up with beds or mats, hot drinks and snacks are available.  

Extreme weather response shelters

Extreme weather response shelters will be open to provide additional spaces at the following locations:   

  • Directions Youth Services Centre 
    • 1138 Burrard Street 
    • 10pm to 7am  
  • Cascades Church 
    • 3833 Boundary Road 
    • 9:30pm to 9am  
  • Bud Osborn EWR  
    • 27 West Hastings Street 
    • 7pm to 7am  
  • The Salvation Army Belkin House 
    • 555 Homer Street 
    • 9pm to 7am  
  • Langara YMCA 
    • 282 West 49th Avenue  
    • 9:30pm to 7am  

Extreme weather response shelters provide mats to sleep on and are open during extreme rain, wind, snow, or when the temperature feels like 0°C or below.  

Depending on the location, visitors to these warm spaces may bring pets, bikes, and carts with them. 

We extend our appreciation to the community organizations who make their spaces available to activate as warming centres and extreme weather response shelters.