As temperatures were forecasted to soar near 40°C in early June 2021, plans were quickly underway to find ways to help people find respite from the hot sun while still following the provincial public health orders.
Our Office of Emergency Management and Community Services Department, in collaboration with the Downtown Community Safety Partnership, temporarily set up a tent in Central Park to provide bottles of water and a shaded location for individuals looking for a break from the heat.
“Heat can affect your ability to regulate its temperature and prolonged exposure to heat can result in conditions such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke,” said Lisa Gilmour, the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator.
“Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and death can occur if the body's temperature climbs too high.”
The tent was staffed by our Community Service Ambassadors and Community Crisis Workers, as well as employees from Recreation Services, Community Development, and Library Services, along with partners from the Downtown Safety Community Patrol. We covered the costs of the supplies, tent and bottled water at all these locations.
Shortly after the tent was set up, we were overwhelmed by the support of the community. Immigration Partnership Winnipeg (IPW), Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM), and Knox Church helped us provide snacks such as granola bars and fruit. The Bear Clan also provided support at our temporary cooling site, which was set up at Sergeant Tommy Prince Place.
“We greatly appreciated the community support we received to help assist unsheltered and low-income residents in our city,” said Noëlle DePape, with our Community Development Division.
Roughly 2,000 litres of water were distributed, along with hundreds of granola bars and pieces of fruit, over the six days the heat relief tent was operating.
Temporary water tanks for residents in need of potable water were also placed outside the Salvation Army, outside of the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre, the Spence Neighbourhood Association green space near the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre, and at the Bear Clan Headquarters on Selkirk Avenue.
Water bottles continue to be available at library branches during regular operating hours.