Ottawa-area festivals prepare to beat Canada Day heat

Celebrations at some Canada Day festivals in and around Ottawa are being tweaked to brace for soupy-hot temperatures in the forecast for Sunday.

Organizers prepare cooling stations ahead of forecast in the mid-30s for Sunday

Darrell Bartraw says there will be plenty of water and cool treats on hand at Barrhaven's Canada Day party to help people stay cool during the heat wave. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Celebrations at some Canada Day festivals in and around Ottawa are being tweaked to brace for soupy-hot temperatures in the forecast for Sunday.

It may feel hotter than 40 with the humidity, leading the Department of Canadian Heritage to prepare for possible last-minute changes to events on Parliament Hill.

For Darrell Bartraw, the organizer of Barrhaven's Canada Day party, the heat and sunshine is a welcome change from last year's "mudfest," and that they're making preparations.

"This year we've brought in some extra misting stations so people can walk through them and get cooled off under them. We've got lots of water for our volunteers, we're going to keep them hydrated," Bartraw said.

"We'll be keeping an eye on people, making sure we don't see dehydration. We'll certainly be bringing water out to people if they require it."

Bartraw tests one of the hoses that will be used for misters at the event to help people cool down. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Carolyn Clark lives nearby and brought her children to Clarke Fields to beat the line for rides Thursday evening — though they'll be back for the big event.

"On the Sunday, we'll probably be more in-and-out, in-and-out, trying to take breaks with the air conditioning," she said.

Petrie Island also preparing

Canada Day organizers for the Petrie Island party said they've cancelled the bike valet they were planning this year because it could be unsafe for volunteers and cyclists in the high heat.

"We've more than doubled our bottled water inventory, rented industrial fans, and are looking into both small- and larger-scale misting options to help our guests beat some of the heat," spokesperson Adam Polka wrote in an email.

Carolyn Clark and her kids, from left to right, Brooke, Mason and Peyton, plan to take lots of breaks and drink water to deal with Sunday's high temperatures. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Organizers are also adding additional tents for the beachfront festival and training volunteers to recognize heat stroke and heat exhaustion symptoms.

Further east, the Village of Casselman posted on Facebook that it will be moving its entire Canada Day celebrations into the J.R. Brisson Complex due to "extreme heat."

The mayor of Casselman told CBC News there will still be some outdoor activities and that access to the arena is a normal contingency plan, whether it's raining or very hot.

Darrell Bartraw, the organizer of Barrhaven's Canada Day party, says there will be a steady supply of water, ice and refreshments on Sunday to keep people cool. 0:41

More paramedics called in

In Ottawa, paramedics have called in additional staff, on top of the regular increased deployment for Canada Day in the downtown core.

"We added more teams to special events and more transport units that will be available throughout the city," said Marc-Antoine Deschamps, the paramedic service's spokesperson.

Deschamps said people should take breaks indoors or in shade, watch out for heat exhaustion symptoms such as nausea and dizziness, and — most importantly — drink water. 

"If you're under the heat, a beer is not going to hydrate you. The same thing with these caffeine beverages," he said.

Be careful with fireworks

Ottawa firefighters are cautioning people to be careful with backyard fireworks, which are permitted from June 30 to July 2.

"If you can go to a larger display you can get more bang for your buck, pardon the pun, and you have less to consider when your private property is at stake," said Danielle Cardinal, Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson.  

"Make sure that you have the property owner's consent and that you follow the manufacturers instructions."

She said people should make sure their grass is trimmed and not too dry around fireworks, and have a bucket of water or hose nearby.

There is a fire ban in effect for agricultural fires and brush burns this weekend, Cardinal said. Permitted fireplaces and camp fires are allowed.