Photo of a rocky beach with wave splashing water in the foreground on a summer day.
The Beaches in Toronto. Photo: Nikos Vlachos.

Practical Tips for Staying Cool

Staying Cool Around Home

Block sunlight

Close the curtains or blinds when direct sun hits a window. Sunlight really heats up rooms, so avoid it during the day as much as you can on hot days.

Try a dehumidifier

Humidity makes Toronto summers hot and sticky. Dehumidifiers can go a long way to reducing the feeling of heat by making the air drier. Some vent outside, and some collect water and you have to empty them. Units cost around $200 to $400, which is cheaper than air conditioners. They work best when you close the windows. Hang your clothes outside to dry, not inside, otherwise the dehumidifier will be working to dry them.

Strategically open and close windows

Opening windows can feel good, but only if it’s cooler outside than inside or if you get a good breeze. If it’s hotter outside than in, you might be better off keeping the windows closed to block out the heat, and create airflow with a fan. If it cools down at night, open the windows.

*If you have AC, don’t open the windows while it’s running; you’d be working against yourself!

Use a fan

A fan aimed right at you goes a long way. If you have a ceiling fan, making sure it is running counter-clockwise. It’ll create some airflow within the room. Moving air across your body cools the skin and removes moisture that makes you feel hot.

Wear flowy clothing

Even indoors, light and loose fabrics hold heat less than tight clothes, especially with natural fabrics like cotton, linen and silk. 

Cook outside, avoid heating inside

Try to keep your oven off in the heat of the day. Can you run your rice cooker outside to avoid all that heat and humidity? Got a BBQ? Can you turn off heat settings on appliances like the heated drying on the dishwasher? Do what you can to avoid heating your home unnecessarily.

Stay low

If you live in a house, spend more time in lower levels like the basement.

Use cold water

Dabbing cold water on your wrists, neck and forehead can go a long way. Cool showers and baths too. Just be careful not to shock yourself with extreme temperature changes. (For example, taking an ice bath can cause you to gasp and hyperventilate. Talk to a health professional if you’re concerned.) 

Staying Cool Outside the Home

If you’re place gets really hot, you might be better off spending some time elsewhere, especially in mid-to-late afternoon which tends to be when temperatures spike.

Parks and ravines

A shady park can sometimes be cooler than your place. Bring sun protection and water, especially if you’re venturing into the GTA’s many ravines along waterways.

Pools, wading pools and splashpads

A great way to cool your core temperature. During heat waves, the city should be keeping pools open for extended hours. 

*Check the “Swimming & Water Play” page at

The beach!

We’re lucky to have several beaches in Toronto. Get to Woodbine Beach, Cherry Beach, Bluffers Beach in Scarborough, the beaches on the islands, and Sunnyside Beach near the Humber. Unfortunately, the pebble beach at Ontario Place West Island (Michael Hough Beach) is closed for the mega-spa development.

*Check the “Water Quality for Toronto Beaches” page at before heading out. 


Have a cool drink on a patio in the shade.

Places with AC!

If parks and fans aren’t cutting it and you’re overheating, get to a place with air conditioning. Think malls, libraries, community centres, cafes, restaurants and bars.

Check out the city’s “Cool Spaces Near You” map at

Send your tips for staying cool to and we’ll add some to the online version of this article.

This article appeared in the 2024 Summer issue.