The summer weather in Ontario seems to break new records every year, though not always for the same reasons. Back in 2016, there were more 30+ degree days than anyone could remember. Last year, in 2017, there was record-breaking rainfall, which had the unfortunate result of half-drowning the Toronto islands for most of the season. This was followed up by an unseasonably hot September that had pools and splash pads re-opening across the City of Toronto.
While summer’s just begun this year, don’t be surprised if there are more records to be set. The long-term forecast is predicting a summer not unlike the one we saw two years ago, with plenty of sun and temperatures to match.
That means more heat, more humidity, and more people blasting the air conditioning 24/7.
Toronto is Getting Hotter
So what’s going on, here? If you’re wanting to blame climate change, you’re probably right.
Year-over-year, there’s still some variability in terms of temperatures around the world, including in Ontario. But the overall trend is clear: the world is getting hotter, and our rampant burning of fossil fuels is the primary cause.
What this means for Toronto is an important question the city has to grapple with as it continues to expand and evolve with the times.
According to the blog Climate Central, in 2100, Toronto will face average summer temperatures of 24.7 degrees. This is comparable to what you’d see today in Belize City, Belize.
Unfortunately, the city is woefully unprepared for that kind of shift at this point — not to mention the permanent geographical challenges that will come with rising waters in Lake Ontario.
A good start would be to install air conditioning in schools across the city, which has been a persistent issue for years now. Another positive step is mandating that landlords provide tenants in high-rise buildings with air conditioning, as the law current requires them to provide heat in the winter, to protect vulnerable populations from suffering heat-related illnesses in their own homes. New buildings should come equipped with energy-efficient central air conditioning systems from the get-go.
And if the air conditioning dies out in the middle of a heatwave, someone should be on it ASAP. According to review aggregator HomeStars, the fastest emergency air conditioner repair in the GTA comes courtesy of a company called AtlasCare (check out Atlascare.ca), but even they face backlogs when in times of high demand. The city should be prepared to help close the gap when these private sector companies cannot meet the demand.
Wishful thinking, perhaps, in this political climate. But the actual climate isn’t going to stop changing for that, and Toronto is only going to get hotter.