Assortment of snow equipment

City preparing for first snow of the season, opening warming centres

January 22 2021 –

With snow and freezing temperatures in the forecast this weekend, we're reminding residents to be prepared and we're opening additional indoor spaces for people experiencing homelessness.

In preparation for snow expected to arrive Saturday evening and continue through Sunday, City crews are monitoring the weather and a coordinated response plan is underway. Key routes including major roads, bus routes, bridges, and the 15 most-used pathways and bike routes are currently being treated with brine ahead of potential snow and ice.

Our response through the weekend will be guided by the weather. With over 100 vehicles, 3,000 tonnes of guaranteed salt supply, and hundreds of staff available to deploy as required, crews will remain focused on treating priority routes for ice and snow. 

Plan ahead for snowy days

This year, to help our essential workers clear the roads on snowy days we are asking residents to only undertake essential travel on the roads and bike routes. If you do need to be on the roads, travel with caution and please give way to, or stay at a safe distance when following a salt and plow truck. If your vehicle is parked on a major route, please plan ahead by moving it to a side street or garage.

As always, residents and business owners can play a big role in ensuring snow doesn’t become hazardous for people with mobility challenges. It’s important that snow is cleared promptly from walkways and sidewalks before it hardens to ice. 

All property owners and occupants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10am the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week.

If you are unable to clear your walk and have no other alternatives, you are encouraged to sign up for the Snow Angel Program to be connected to a volunteer. The Snow Angel program helps match volunteers with seniors and people with mobility issues to help clear their sidewalks. Sign up for the Snow Angel program

Warming centres and extra shelter space

Due to very cold weather and snow forecasted this weekend, we're opening warming centres from January 22-27. Warming centres are activated as a life-saving measure for people sleeping outside during the colder winter months. 
Warming centres will be open at the following locations: 

  • Powell Street Getaway, 528 Powell St: 9pm to 7am
  • Vancouver Aquatic Centre, 1050 Beach Ave: 10pm to 7am
  • Creekside Community Centre, 1 Athletes Way: 10pm to 7am
  • Vancouver Odd Fellows, 1443 W 8th Ave: 10pm to 7am

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, and will provide hot drinks and snacks. This year, measures are in place at warming centres to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and all sites have reduced capacity to support physical distancing requirements.

Warming centres are activated when the temperature reaches -5°C or below (or when it feels like -5°C or below). These sites are in addition to Extreme Weather Response shelters, which have opened throughout the winter season when the temperature is 0 degrees or feels like 0. These additional shelter spaces are opened in partnership with BC Housing and have been activated for 59 nights so far this winter.

Find more information on our winter response