Montrealers find ways to cool off as temperatures soar

With Environment Canada's heat warning in effect for southern Quebec all weekend, public health officials warn people to find ways to stay cool and to look in on vulnerable friends and neighbours.

With Environment Canada heat warning in effect for weekend, public health agency warns people to stay indoors

Children splash around the fountains of Place des Festivals. (Kate McKenna/CBC )

Tourists, children, and even some dogs, frolicked in the fountains at Montreal's Place des Festivals Friday — one way to get some relief from the steaming heat.

A warm and humid heat mass has moved into southern Quebec and is expected to stay there until Sunday, with humidex values reaching 40 to 45. 

The heat warning is in effect for Montreal, the Châteauguay-Laprairie area, the Longueuil-Varennes area and Laval.

"We're just back from South Carolina, so this weather is not too bad for us," said Nathalie Cyr. 

Cyr, from Ottawa, is in Montreal for the weekend to check out some of the summer festivals, but she needed to find a place for her pug to quench his thirst — and headed to Place des Festivals, where the bursts of water from the fountains are just the right height for Gustav.

Nathalie Cyr took her pug, Gustav, to cool off in the fountains outside Place des Festivals. (Valeria Cori-Manocchio/CBC)

Environment Canada is urging people to remember to drink water before they feel thirsty — and to check in on their neighbours.

The weather agency says strenuous outdoor activities should be avoided, and people should stay indoors and in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible. 

"Our primary concern is people with certain chronic diseases," said Dr. David Kaiser said, a medical specialist with Montreal's public health authority.  

Kaiser said people with diabetes, heart conditions and respiratory issues, as well as elderly people and people with mental health conditions are particularly at risk. 

In 2018, 66 deaths were directly related to the heat, according to a recent report by Montreal's public health authority. 

Two out of three of those who died were aged 65 or older, and one in four suffered from schizophrenia. The latter group's medications can interfere with the body's ability to eliminate heat.

The Montreal regional health agency said earlier this year it is working to improve safety measures when temperatures rise.

Kaiser said he would like to see the city continue to increase green spaces and to build lower buildings, in order to reduce the effect of heat islands.

With files from CBC's Sarah Leavitt and Valeria Cori-Manocchio


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