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Warming centre hours extended as extreme cold sweeps through region


Waterloo Region residents are braving the elements as a blast of cold Arctic air sweeps through much of southwestern Ontario.

Those without adequate housing are facing a disproportionate impact from the cold, leading to the Region of Waterloo expanding some of its warming centre hours.

Three designated warming centres at regional buildings in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo will now be open seven days a week starting Saturday and lasting until the end of February.

The region said if necessary the option to extend the warming centre operations until March is available.

The centres will be located inside region of Waterloo buildings at 99 Regina Street South in Waterloo, 150 Main Street in Cambridge and 150 Frederick Street in Kitchener.

Warming Centres in Waterloo Region. (Region of Waterloo)

Hours will be 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m Monday to Friday and 8 a.m to 6 p.m Saturday, Sunday and on holidays.

Other warming centres in the region include local libraries, community centres and municipal buildings – but they have more limited hours.

The region says the extension of hours comes as the region of waterloo housing services follows an extreme cold weather procedure.

The initiative will provide additional supports to region-funded emergency shelters, street outreach programs and drop-in programs which includes opening more beds at shelters.

Some people who spoke to CTV News on Friday said they are concerned for those who don't have a place to take shelter and warm up as the extreme cold can be dangerous.

“It’s cold today. People could freeze to death today. I really think it’s sad,” one person told CTV News Kitchener Friday morning. “I see a lot of homeless and they’re trying to stay warm and where they’re trying to stay warm is the wrong place. They should be in warming centres.”

Despite the frigid temperatures, the Region of Waterloo said there is still space in the warming centres for more people.

However, as many of those shelters begin closing as temperatures drop overnight, the region said those looking to stay warm overnight can go to an emergency shelter.

In a statement to CTV News the region said in part, "there continues to be space in our shelter system for those who want it. Those needing shelter overnight should access one of the region’s emergency shelters."

The full list of warming shelters in the region can be found by clicking here.


"If you are not near a shelter and you are on the streets sometimes people will find a way into a bank into the vestibule where the ATM machines are some sort of vestibule where there's a heat curtain,” said Sean Hubert, an advocate for those experiencing homelessness.

Adding: “We will have people standing like I say in a shelter situation where we will open our doors we would have people standing in the vestibule standing around keeping warm.”

For Sara McKnight, a program supervisor at Ray of Hope in Kitchener, there is a concern for those who don't have a place to take shelter

"So those who are living outside it's definitely as concern for their wellbeing. For some of them, it's going to be more of a life and death situation,” said McKnight.

She said they will be offering space as well.

"People can come and get a break from the weather. They can come sleep they can play cards. We just offer that sense of togetherness and we just really want that sense of community here at the Ray of Hope,” said McKnight.


The City Of Brantford also issued a public notice reading in part "no one will be turned away from shelter. Individuals can go to the Salvation Army at any time and are able to warm up. The city’s emergency shelter services has available spaces. If these spaces become occupied, staff can offer shelter in a motel, or provide other supports.” Top Stories

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