Handle the heat: Everything you need to know to beat Montreal's hot spell

A heat wave is affecting southern Quebec, with highs in the mid-thirties and humidex values exceeding 40 for over the next week.

A heat wave is affecting southern Quebec, with highs in the mid-30s and humidex values exceeding 40

The agency advised the public to consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day, like morning or evening. (Radio-Canada)

A heat wave is affecting southern Quebec this long weekend, with highs in the mid-30s and humidex values exceeding 40.

Sunday and Monday will be especially humid days. Lows will be around 20 C, and the heat wave is expected to persist through the week.

Temperatures are expected to rise to a high of 31 C today, which will feel like 42 with the humidex.

Environment Canada advised the public to consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day, like morning or evening.

Two neighbourhoods appear to have taken that advice — both Pierrefonds and Côte Saint-Luc have cancelled their Canada Day parades, scheduled for Sunday.

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Montreal's Canada Day parade is going ahead as planned, though.

The festivities start at 11 a.m. heading east along Ste-Catherine Street from Fort Street, ending at Place du Canada.

Environment Canada recommends to...

  • Spend at least two hours a day in air conditioned or cool places;
  • Take at least one shower or cool bath per day, or cool your skin several times per day with wet towels;
  • Limit physical activity;
  • Wear light clothes.

To prepare for the impending heat, the City of Montreal advises people to prepare an emergency kit, complete with water, non-perishables and other necessities.

It also recommends Montrealers sign up for community alerts on their phones. 

The city opens public cooling centres after three consecutive days in which the temperature exceeds 33 C. They haven't been opened yet, but find a map here.

A bulldog cools off with a fan in New York City. (Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty)

Urgences-Santé also issued recommendations, pointing out that alcohol is dehydrating and that people should prioritize water or non-alcoholic drinks.

People should take frequent breaks from the heat, ideally in an air-conditioned place, and drink lots of water.

And don't forget to wear sunscreen with high SPF and a hat.

Quebec's Health Ministry reminded Quebecers never to leave a child or baby alone in a vehicle or a poorly aerated room, even for a few moments.

"Check on your loved ones, especially those who are vulnerable or living alone."

According to the ministry, extreme heat affects everyone, but can be particularly harmful to babies and children, the elderly, people who live alone, and people with chronic diseases, severe problems with mental health or addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Effects include headache, muscle cramps, unusual fatigue or exhaustion, dark urine, swelling of the hands, feet and ankles, and in some cases high body temperature," the ministry says.

Anyone with questions about health concerns can call the Info-Santé service at 811 24 hours a day. In case of emergency, people should call 911.

And the SPCA issued a reminder that leaving pets in cars for even a few minutes is dangerous. 

"Do not take the risk," it said in a tweet.

Pools extend hours

A great way to cool off is by plunging into a cold body of water. If you can't make it to a cottage on the river today, many pools in Montreal neighbourhoods have extended their hours. These include:

  • Ahuntsic-Cartierville.
  • Anjou.
  • Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
  • Lachine.
  • Southwest.
  • Outremont.
  • Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles.
  • Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie.
  • Saint-Laurent.
  • Saint-Léonard.
  • Verdun.
  • Ville-Marie.
  • Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension.

​Find a full list of pools with extended hours here.

All public pools in Laval will also have their hours extended, and will be open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. from Saturday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 3. Depending on weather conditions, those hours might be extended, according to the city.

On Sunday, the Yvon-Chartrand, Hartland-Monahan and Martin St-Louis arenas, as well as the Émile-Nelligan and Multicultural libraries, will be open and air-conditioned.

As of Monday, three air-conditioned drop-ins will be open: the Access Center, Place des Aînés Chomedey and Germaine-Guèvremont Library.

Patience while moving

Erickson Martin, the owner of WeHaul Movers, will be working throughout the heatwave — which is taking place during Montreal's big moving day on July 1. 

He told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that his crews will be taking extra precautions to make sure they don't over-exert themselves.

However, he said that it may end up slowing down moving day.

"I can appreciate that [clients] want things to be done quickly," Martin said. "However, if the men are working past their ability to cope with the heat — no one's going to be moving if the men are collapsing."

Martin has instructed his workers to wear loose clothing, hydrate, and be on the lookout for heat exhaustion. If any of them suspect that someone has heatstroke, they've been told to call an ambulance.

"We don't want to mess around with that," he said. "The key here is to stay wet and cool."