As the extreme heat wave sweeping Western Canada arrives in Saskatchewan and begins to drive thermometer readings up, people are increasingly thinking about cooling down.
Trudy Favel and her kids, Greyson and Siena, have been spending a lot of their time at Maple Leaf Pool in Regina lately.
“We’ve been here just about every day,” Trudy Favel said Wednesday afternoon, as the 30-degree heat started setting in.
The family doesn’t have air conditioning, and with the temperature only set to rise, they’ll probably be spending some more time there yet.
Along with Siena’s friend Aubrie Looker, they were some of the first people in the pool when it opened at 12 p.m. They had lined up for an hour beforehand.
After they got in, others continued to wait their turn on the hot concrete outside the gate.
This is the first week that the pool, located in Regina’s Heritage neighbourhood, has been open full days, said City of Regina aquatic program specialist Jesse McCabe.
“It’s been in high demand,” McCabe said.
It was one of three of the city’s outdoor pools and 14 spray pads open Wednesday.
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When Bethany Ledoux woke up, she said the first thing she thought of was to get ready to go swimming.
Mason Ballantyne, 12, and his brother Dominic, 10, said they don’t have air conditioning at home, but that being outside, unless they’re in the pool, is scorching.
“It actually feels like a volcano out here. It feels like an inside of a volcano,” said Dominic Ballantyne.
Brennon Widdis does have a few small air conditioners going at his house, but said in this heat, they’re not enough.
Regina Plumbing and Heating sells, installs and repairs air conditioners. President Adrian Godbold said the daily call volume has doubled from about 40 to 80 over the past few days.
“The past couple of days have just been absolutely crazy,” Godbold said. “Everybody is just really hot and they want it now. ‘How soon can you install it?’ That’s the biggest question.”
He said his staff is making the work a priority, although it could be a few days’ wait.
“If you’re thinking about buying an air conditioner, don’t wait any longer because supplies are dwindling,” Godbold said.
University of Regina climate scientist Dave Sauchyn, director of the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative, said that modelling has pointed to extreme temperatures and heat waves decades down the road in the middle of summer.
“This is a sample size of one. It’s a single weather event, but as these heat waves occur again and again, it’s telling us that the climate has changed,” Sauchyn said.
He said adaptation is going to be required to deal with the impacts.
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“In terms of what people should do, we should focus on the people who are most vulnerable. We should focus on the people who don’t have access to an air-conditioned office or who don’t have access to an air-conditioned home,” he said.
The City of Regina has worked with community partners and agencies to develop a cooling space strategy, identifying various locations for people to seek refuge from the heat, said policy analyst Kelly Husack.
“To be able to just ensure that we’re able to meet the needs of individuals wherever they’re at throughout the days is very important,” she said. “Health and safety and wellbeing are critically vital to everyone here in the city. “
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