Cool down locations available to the public as temperatures climb
With heat warnings in effect across the Okanagan, Kelowna residents and visitors seeking temporary relief from extreme heat can visit a variety of indoor and outdoor locations throughout the city to stay cool and beat the heat.
“With warmer weather in the forecast, it’s important to stay hydrated and take breaks either in the shade or indoors,” says Lance Kayfish, Risk Manager for the City of Kelowna. “There are places all around our community to cool off including libraries, shopping centres, spray parks and city facilities.”
The following City of Kelowna air-conditioned locations are open to the public in need of cool spaces and access to water fountains.
- Parkinson Recreation Centre (1800 Parkinson Way)
- Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Stat holidays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Rutland Arena (645 Dodd Road)
- Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (excluding the B.C. Day statutory holiday)
- Rutland Activity Centre (765 Dodd Road)
- Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Capital News Centre (4105 Gordon Drive)
- Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In addition to the above air-conditioned public spaces, a designated day-use site with access to potable water, shade, food and peer-led supports is in place near the intersection of the Rail Trail and Gordon Drive for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Outreach teams work in Kelowna throughout the year and enhanced responses are now underway where they are providing bottled water, sunscreen, hats and frozen washcloths, as well as education about heat safety, drinking water locations and cooling opportunities. Additionally, a cooling tent is set up at the Queensway Bus Loop, providing shade, water misters and drinking water. The tent will operate daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. until at least Friday, July 29, when its ongoing need will be assessed.
Residents can also stay cool at the following water and splashparks:
- City Park Waterpark (1600 Abbott Street)
- Ben Lee Waterpark (900 Houghton Road)
- Quilchena Splash Park (347 Quilchena Drive)
As of summer 2022, heat events in B.C. are classified into two categories:
- A Heat Warning is when there is a moderate risk to public health with daytime and overnight temperatures higher than usual, but they are not getting hotter every day. In Southeast-Southern Interior, British Columbia, a heat warning is issued when two or more consecutive days of daytime maximum temperatures are expected to reach 35 degrees or warmer and nighttime minimum temperatures are expected to fall to 18 degrees or warmer. If there is a Heat Warning, you should take steps to stay cool including staying hydrated and taking breaks from the heat.
- An Extreme Heat Emergency is when it is dangerously hot and there is a high risk to public health. The daytime and overnight temperatures get hotter every day and are well above seasonal norms. In Southeast-Southern Interior, British Columbia, a heat emergency is declared when heat warning criteria have been met (two or more consecutive days of daytime maximum temperatures are expected to reach 35 degrees or warmer and nighttime minimum temperatures are expected to fall to 18 degrees or warmer)—and there is certainty that temperatures would substantially increase day over day for three or more consecutive days. Extreme heat can put your health at risk, causing illness such as heat stroke or even death. It is important to take steps to protect yourself, your family and other potentially vulnerable people in your life. Make sure you have access to cooler spaces and take steps to ensure you limit physical activity in the heat. Check on older or vulnerable people that you know to make sure they are adequately prepared for the potentially dangerous temperatures.
Interior Health recommends the following steps to protect your health during heat events:
- Drink plenty of water and other liquids to stay hydrated, even if you are not thirsty.
- Spray your body with water, wear a damp shirt, take a cool shower or bath or sit with part of your body in water to cool down.
- Take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day.
- Stay in the shade and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
- Take immediate action to cool down if you are overheating. Signs of overheating include feeling unwell, headache and dizziness. Overheating can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
For weather alerts for the Okanagan Valley and beyond, visit weather.gc.ca/warnings.
For health information, visit interiorhealth.ca/heat and the following resources on extreme heat preparedness: