Canada Day party planners getting set for extreme heat

Organizers of this weekend's Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill have come up with contingency plans to help revellers beat the extreme heat.

Misting stations, more paramedics planned as temperatures expected to hit mid-30s

As workers set up the stage for the weekend's big Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, contingencies are being made to help the crowds deal with the extreme heat. (Amanda Pfeffer (CBC))

A Canadian Heritage spokesperson previously told CBC News organizers were considering changing or cancelling some Canada Day events due to the extreme heat. The spokesperson later retracted that statement, and now says contingency plans will be in place to help revellers deal with the high temperatures.


Organizers of this weekend's Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill have come up with contingency plans to help revellers beat the extreme heat.

The added measures include shaded waiting areas, free water, misting stations and more paramedics.

Sunday's forecast calls for a high of 35 C, but it will feel more like 45 C with the humidity.

Canadian Heritage is aware the heat could be a health hazard for the thousands of people expected to gather for the festivities on Parliament Hill.

"Security of everybody is what's paramount for us," said spokesperson Dominique Tessier.

"We're working with the [Ottawa] fire department and Parliamentary Protective Services for crowd misting capabilities on the lawns of Parliament Hill," she said.

Similar misting stations will be available at some museums and at Major's Hill Park. There will also be ample free water-filling stations, Tessier said.

Officials with both Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Paramedic Service say Canada Day revellers should avoid coffee and alcohol if they want to stay hydrated. 0:36

'We learned a lot from last year'

Parliament Hill security staff are also working to ensure the lines move faster, and are considering how to increase opportunities for shelter from the sun, Tessier said. 

Marc-Antoine Deschamps, a spokesperson for the Ottawa Paramedic Service, said many of the changes came about after reviewing last year's sesquicentennial celebrations, when security checkpoints created a bottleneck and long lines for would-be attendees.

"I can tell you we learned a lot from last year," Deschamps said.

Deschamps said paramedics will have a first-aid tent near the queue lines and two new ATV units to enter crowded areas inaccessible to ambulances.

There will also be a boost in the number of information officers to help people find what they're looking for, whether it's water, the shade or the back of the line. 

Last year's long lines in making some changes to this year's Canada Day planning, said Marc-Antoine Deschamps with the Ottawa Paramedic Service. Free water will be available in lineups and paramedics will have a first-aid tent near the queue. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

Hospitalizations expected to rise

Ottawa Public Health said hospitals have seen significant increases in hospitalizations during heat waves. 

Last year, during a heat wave warning event June 11-12, 26 people landed in hospital for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. During a second event between Sept. 23 and 27, 22 people were treated at hospitals.

The public health agency notes that some if its traditional advice — such as avoid the sun and avoid drinking alcohol — may be more challenging for people celebrating Canada Day.

But people should watch for symptoms, particularly nausea, and begin to look for shade or reach out to paramedics if they need immediate relief. 

Visitors undaunted

Conchita Crooks and her friends Beverly Reid and Andrea Osbourne from Montreal said they won't be cancelling their plans to celebrate Sunday.

"No we won't, we're from Jamaica — what's wrong with you!" joked Osbourne.

Osbourne said she will carry her bottle of spray mist to keep cool.

"And water — drink lots and lots of water," Crooks added.

Conchita Crooks, left, Beverly Reid, middle and Andrea Osbourne, right, say the heat won't keep them from attending the Canada Day show Sunday. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

​Dos and don'ts during a heat wave

  • Do drink plenty of water.
  • Don't do heavy outdoor activity.
  • Do wear a hat, light and loose clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses when going outside.
  • Do cool off in an air-conditioned room.

(Source: Ottawa Public Health)

Corrections

  • A Canadian Heritage spokesperson previously told CBC News organizers were considering changing or cancelling some Canada Day events due to the extreme heat. The spokesperson later retracted that statement, and now says contingency plans will be in place to help revellers deal with the high temperatures.
    Jun 29, 2018 12:04 PM ET