A man walking through the street at night

City opens warming centres as temperatures drop

December 23 2021 –

In response to the extreme cold weather forecasted starting December 24, we are opening warming centres to provide additional capacity for people to come indoors between December 24 to December 27.

Warming Centres are activated in addition to Extreme Weather Response Shelters as an additional life-saving response for people sleeping outside when the temperature reaches -5°C or below (or it feels like -5°C or below).

They are in addition to other initiatives taken by us and the Province to ensure people in Vancouver who are experiencing homelessness have a place to keep warm during the winter months. 

Warming centres

Warming centres are activated when the temperature reaches -5°C or below (or it feels like -5°C or below). We encourage anyone who is sleeping outside to visit one of these centres, which are open to all, including people who have pets and carts.

Centres will provide hot drinks and snacks. Up to 101 Warming Centre spaces have been created to bring people inside.

  • Powell Street Getaway (528 Powell St): Open daily 9pm to 7am  
  • Odd Fellows Lodge (1443 W 8th Ave): Open daily 10pm to 8am (bikes permitted, but no pets or carts)
  • Britannia Community Centre (Gym D) (1661 Napier St): Open December 24, 8pm to 8am, December 25, 8pm to 8am, December 26, 8pm to 6:30am
  • West End Community Centre (870 Denman St):  Open December 24-25, 11pm to 9am, both days (no carts)

Measures are in place at all Warming Centre locations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Face masks are required for everyone accessing Warming Centres and will be provided for free if needed. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required to access Warming Centres.

Health or social services provided to people in need, such as warming centres, are exempt from the Provincial Health Officer Gatherings and Events Order and are not subject to event or capacity limitations as announced on December 21, 2021.

Extreme Weather Response (EWR) Shelters

EWR shelters are funded by BC Housing and are activated when an extreme weather alert is issued for Vancouver, such as sleet or freezing rain, snow accumulation, or temperatures at or below 0°C, or "feels like" 0°C with wind chill. Up to 109 spaces have been created at the following locations to bring people inside.

  • Directions Youth Services Centre (1138 Burrard St): Open 10pm to 7am
  • Tenth Church (11 10th Ave W at Ontario St): Open 9:30pm to 9am
  • Cascades Church (3833 Boundary Road, west side of Boundary): Open 9:30pm to 9am
  • Evelyne Saller Centre (320 Alexander St): Open 11pm to 7:30am (final intake at 1am)
  • Langara YMCA (282 W 49th Ave, south side of 49th Ave): Open 8pm to 8am
  • Bud Osborn EWR (27 West Hastings St): Open 7:30pm to 7:30am

Alerts for these EWR and Warming Centre spaces are circulated to partner agencies, community centre staff, outreach program staff, and a variety of agencies serving individuals experiencing homelessness. Details are posted to our website and social media channels. View updates on EWR locations and openings (185 KB).

In addition to the extreme weather drop-in spaces above, there are also permanent and temporary shelters in operation. Those looking for shelter space can call 2-1-1 to check availability, or find a full list of shelters online (417 KB).

We thank the community organizations who make their facilities available as Warming Centres and EWR Shelters on these coldest nights of the year.

Additional Warm Spaces

As a reminder, community centres, public libraries and other public buildings are also available during their opening hours as spaces for people to come inside to warm up.

City of Vancouver Community Centres

  • The Gathering Place (609 Helmcken St): Open 8:30am to 8pm
  • Carnegie Community Centre (401 Main St):  Open 9am to 11pm 
  • Evelyne Saller Centre (320 Alexander St): Open Monday–Friday 9am to 11pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 10pm

Park Board Community Centres

Vancouver Public Library

Check our social media accounts for warming centre spaces open beyond December 27, 2021. We are monitoring the evolving weather forecast closely and will be taking additional measures as needed.

Snow and ice response

In preparation for the freezing temperatures and potential snow, City crews are monitoring the weather and a coordinated response plan for snow and ice treatment is underway. Key routes including major roads, bus routes, bridges, and the 15 most-used bike routes and pathways are currently being treated with brine ahead of potential snow and ice conditions.

Our response through the weekend will be guided by the weather. With over 100 vehicles, 8,000 tonnes of guaranteed salt supply, and hundreds of personnel available to deploy as required, crews will remain focused on keeping priority routes clear of snow and ice. If your vehicle is parked on a major route, please plan ahead by moving it to a side street or garage.

View the map of our prioritized plan

How you can help

Residents also have a critical role to play in our snow and ice response. Following a snow event, all property owners and tenants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property or residence the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week. 

We encourage residents and businesses to lend a hand to those who are unable to shovel their own sidewalks, particularly seniors and people with mobility challenges by signing up to become a Snow Angel.

Learn more about our winter response