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Here comes the heat. Please prepare and stay cool.

(August 14, 2023) Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the Nanaimo region with temperatures expected to reach 34 degrees Celsius through Wednesday, Aug. 16.

People living alone, the elderly, people living with pre-existing health conditions and those living without air conditioning are extra vulnerable during heat waves and may need help. Please check in on your family and neighbours, stay cautious in the heat and care for those around you.

See tips below for ways to stay cool, cool your home, symptoms to watch for, and other resources to help you through these warmer times. For additional tips and advice, please visit the  Province of BC's 'Be prepared for extreme heat and drought' page and download and print the PreparedBC Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide.

Plan ahead for heat:

  • Relocate to a cooler location if you are able to (see below for available City of Nanaimo locations)
  • Reconfigure the coolest location in your home so you can sleep there at night
  • Put up external window covers to block the sun if you can safely do so
  • Close your curtains and blinds
  • Ensure digital thermometers have batteries
  • Make ice and prepare jugs of cool water
  • Keep windows closed between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Open them at 8 p.m. to allow cooler air in, and use fans (including kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans) to move cooler air through the house
  • Identify an extreme heat buddy who can check on you when it gets hot and who you can reach out for help. 
  • Stay connected with your friends and neighbours - check on older people and those who are house-bound for signs of heat-related illness


More tips to stay cool:

  • Stay hydrated - drink cold beverages, preferably free of alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Here is an online map of drinking water fountain locations where you can fill up a water bottle.
  • Dress appropriately- avoid dark colours and heavy layers. Wear a hat, loose fitting clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen when heading outdoors.
  • Cool down - we are fortunate to be surrounded by many water sources from the Salish Sea to lakes and streams. Check out the Parks search app for some swimming gems in Nanaimo. Please make sure to practice water safety principles in and around water and, especially in high flowing rivers. In addition, the City has four water parks for kids to enjoy and a misting station at Maffeo Sutton Park
  • Slow down - avoid strenuous activities.
  • Look for shade - avoid direct exposure to the sun. The City has wide range of parks and open spaces to get some shade.
  • Avoid hot cars - never leave your children or pets in a hot car.
  • Visit us - our recreation facilities have air-conditioned lobbies and are a great place for a brief cool down. We have drop-in public swimming and skating sessions available (pre-registration required). In addition to City rec centres, Nanaimo's libraries and shopping centres offer places to cool down in air conditioning. 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 15 - Wednesday, Aug. 16: 
    • Oliver Woods (7:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.) 
    • Beban Social Centre (7:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.) 
    • Bowen Park (6:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.)
  • Vancouver Island Regional Library:
    • Nanaimo Harbourfront (10 a.m. - 8 p.m.)
    • Nanaimo Wellington Branch (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
    • Nanaimo North (10 a.m. - 8 p.m.)

Extreme Weather Supports for Vulnerable Populations:

The City and other service providers are working together to support community members. See our Services and Supports page for more information.  

According to Island Health, the following is a list of symptoms of heat-related illness to watch out for:

  • pale, cool, moist skin; 
  • heavy sweating; 
  • muscle cramps; 
  • rash; 
  • swelling, especially hands and feet; 
  • fatigue and weakness; 
  • dizziness and/or fainting; 
  • headache; nausea and/or vomiting; 
  • fever, particularly a core body temperature of 40° C (104° F) or more; 
  • confusion and decreased mental alertness; 
  • hallucinations; red, hot, dry skin (in the late stages of heat stroke); 
  • seizures; and 
  • unconsciousness/coma.

For more information on heat-related illness, visit Health Link BC or dial 811.

Keep Pets Cool

Make sure to keep your furry friends cool in hot temperatures. Here are some tips from the BC SPCA on summer pet safety. Dogs can also cool off in a designated off-leash area where there is access to the water such as the Cable Bay Trail and Invermere Beach.

Be FireSmart

The risk of wildfires goes up as the temperature goes up. Residents are also advised to ensure all smoking materials are properly extinguished, don't throw lit cigarettes or other smoking materials out the car window and smoking is not permitted in any City park or on City trails. Find more information on how you can prevent wildfires by visiting

Wildfire Smoke

You can subscribe to air quality advisories on the Province of BC's websiteIsland Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control have information on how to reduce the health risks of wildfire smoke.

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