Thermometer and sunny sky

Stay safe in the summer heat

What you need to know

When it's summer in Vancouver and the days get hotter, it's important to remember that even in temperate, coastal BC, heat can be harmful.

While heat can harm anyone, some are especially vulnerable:

  • Older adults and children younger than five years old
  • People with pre-existing illnesses or taking certain medications
  • People who are isolated or experiencing homelessness
  • Outdoor workers
  • People with addictions who may be more likely to be dehydrated as a side effect of substance use
  • Anyone who isn’t acclimatized to our weather
  • Anyone left in a hot environment like a closed car, or in direct sun 

Check in with anyone you know who is vulnerable to heat or who lives alone.

Symptoms of heat-related illness

Symptoms of heat illness can range from mild to severe and occur when your body is unable to cool itself. The following symptoms of heat exhaustion are signs to cool down for a few hours and drink plenty of water: 

  • Skin rash
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat 
  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark urine and decreased urination
  • Dizziness or fainting

Symptoms of heat stroke are severe and require immediate medical care: 

  • High body temperature
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Very hot and red skin 

If you see someone suffering from too much heat, call 9-1-1 and help them cool off by applying water to their face and neck until emergency services arrive. You can also call 8-1-1 to speak to a nurse. Interpretation services are available on these phone numbers.

More information on heat-related illness from HealthLink BC (translations available) 

Tips to keep cool

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible.
  • Plan ahead for where you can spend time in a cool or air-conditioned place, and seek shade when outside.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, and sunscreen.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and exercise.
  • Drink plenty of cool fluids, such as water, before you feel thirsty.
  • Fill up your water bottle at a water fountain.
  • Cool down at a misting station.

Where to keep cool

Some community centres and most public library branches have air-conditioned spaces where you can cool down on a hot day.

Location
Britannia Community Centre 
1661 Napier St
Carnegie Community Centre 
401 Main St
Evelyne Saller Centre 
320 Alexander St
Gathering Place 
609 Helmcken St
Hillcrest Centre 
4575 Clancy Loranger Way
Kerrisdale Community Centre 
5851 West Blvd
Killarney Community Centre 
6260 Killarney St
Mount Pleasant Community Centre 
1 Kingsway
Ray-Cam Community Centre 
920 E Hastings St
Roundhouse Community Centre 
181 Roundhouse Mews
Vancouver Public Library branches  

These facilities become cooling centres when Environment Canada issues a heat warning or Vancouver Coastal Health issues an extreme heat alert.

View a map of where to go to keep cool  (399 KB)

Other places to cool down

Swimming pools

We have nine indoor and five outdoor seasonal pools. View their locations, features, and amenities.

Spray parks and wading pools

Find spray parks and wading pools in Vancouver – the perfect way to cool down in the city on a hot summer day.

Wildfire smoke 

Wildfire smoke can often occur at the same time as hot weather.

If you're struggling with respiratory issues due to wildfire smoke, you can visit one of our cleaner air spaces in community centres or library branches with high efficiency particular air filtering, or MERV filters.

Vancouver Public Library branches  at Central, Mount Pleasant, Renfrew, and Terry Salman also provide cleaner air spaces (hours vary).

Water quality

In the event of a beach closures due to water quality issues, we'll post a notice on the beach webpage. We encourage the public to monitor these pages which link directly to Vancouver Coastal Health’s water quality readings .