Heat beaters: How to stay cool this weekend

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It’s going to be a hot and humid weekend ahead. Environment Canada offers these tips to keep yourself safe:

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  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and stay in a cool place
  • To reduce the risk, schedule outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day
  • If you must work outdoors, be sure to take regular breaks and find a cool place to take them

Of course, it’s always an option to head to the beach. The National Capital Commission says the beach at Lac Leamy is closed because of high pollution counts.

The agency said that Blanchet and O’Brien beaches, at Meech Lake, Breton, Parent and Smith beaches, at Philippe Lake, and the beach at La Pêche Lake remain open.

Two of Gatineau’s three municipal beaches, Parc des Cèdres and Lac-Beauchamp are closed for swimming due to water quality problems.

The Lac Moussette beach will be open for an extra hour Saturday and Sunday.

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The city is also extending the hours at many of its outdoor pools to 8:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

These include:

  • Jack-Eyamie Pool, 40 du Bassin St.
  • Fontaine Pool and Wading Pool (120 Charlevoix St., Hull sector)
  • Sauvageau Pool (179 Mutchmore St., Hull sector)
  • Laurent-Groulx Pool (1 Lévesque St., Hull sector)
  • Desjardins Pool (1 rue Goyette, Hull sector)
  • La Vérendrye Pool (Main Street, Gatineau sector)

Ottawa’s Westboro Beach remains off limits for the summer while the NCC reconstructs its pavilion and parking lots.

In Ottawa, lifeguards are on duty at Britannia Beach, Mooney’s Bay Beach and Petrie Island’s beaches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The City of Ottawa says residents can cool down at city facilities that are open to the public (during operating hours).

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Ottawa Public Health has a helpful website with a variety of tips and suggestions on dealing with severe heat.

The health unit suggests “Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Avoid heavy outdoor activity. Wear a hat, light and loose-fitting clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses when outside.; Bring a parasol or an umbrella and water when leaving home in case you need to wait outdoors in the heat, such as waiting in a lineup.

When extreme heat and humidity come to Ottawa, the populations most affected are people without housing and the elderly.

“People think of people needing shelter from the cold, and that’s usually all that hits the radar,” said Peter Tilley, chief executive officer of the Ottawa Mission, a downtown shelter. The summer is no different, Tilley explained. Humidity levels in the past few days have been extremely high.

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Pals Charlie Curry, 6, and Olivia Dicoratto, 8, seemed to have a blast the Barrhaven water park.
Pals Charlie Curry, 6, and Olivia Dicoratto, 8, seemed to have a blast the Barrhaven water park. Photo by Julie Oliver /Postmedia

With temperatures on the rise, the Ottawa Mission is raising awareness about the dangers of sun and heat. They recommend that anyone planning to sleep outside should do so in the shade to minimize exposure.

The Ottawa Mission has increased its presence in the community, offering advice and water to those in need, Tilley said. “Our front-line staff have backpacks of water bottles, and, instead of going around every hour, they’ll go around every half-hour.”

“There’s risks of somebody passing out, for whatever reason — maybe they’re tired or had a little too much to drink or something — that we want to get them out of the sun,” he said.

The elderly represent another population at risk due to the heat.

The provincial government’s deadline mandating that all long-term care homes have air conditioning in resident rooms in Ontario was June 22. However, many homes did not meet that deadline.

According to the City of Ottawa, only two city-run long-term care homes are fully air-conditioned. The other two, Peter D. Clark and Carleton Lodge, are expected to have resident rooms fully air-conditioned by 2023 and the fall of 2022, respectively.

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