Toronto weather to remain frigid before brief reprieve Thursday

The stubbornly cold air hanging over Toronto this week will ease up on Thursday before another deep freeze ahead of the weekend.

People in the city woke up to temperatures that felt closer to -30 C Wednesday morning. While that technically marks the peak of this week’s cold plunge, colder temperatures are expected later this week after a reprieve on Thursday.

“There’s another shot of deep cold coming Friday and Friday night that may come close to equalling the severity of this morning and today,” CP24 Meteorologist Bill Coulter said. “Then we climb out of the deep freeze over the weekend and see much milder winds move in next week.”

Temperatures in the city will reach a high of -10 C today but will feel like -18 C with the wind chill. That’s a far cry from the seasonal high of -2.3 C.

Thursday will see mainly cloudy skies with isolated flurries, light winds and a high of -4 C. Friday will be mostly overcast with a few flurries and a high will of -9 C.


Amid the bitter cold, the city said Wednesday that its warming centres are full.

“The warming centres, which became operational last week, are currently operating at full capacity,” a spokesperson told CP24.

The spaces, which open when temperatures in the city reach -5 C, opened earlier this week and offer respite for individuals experiencing homelessness.

The city said that despite opening additional shelter space this year, “more may be needed to address the increasing demand for shelter and housing.”

Speaking at an unrelated news conference Wednesday, Mayor Olivia Chow addressed the cold and lack of available space for the unhoused.

“It is freezing cold outside. We are doing everything we can to have people able to shelter in warmth,” she said. “That is why another warming centre is opening – Cecil Community Centre – we are continuously looking for more warming centres to open.” It should be noted that the warming centre at Cecil Community Centre is also at capacity, according to the city. 

In an update, the city said it is currently supporting over 12,000 individuals in its shelter system, which it said is a record-breaking figure for Toronto.

All five of the city’s warming locations will continue to operate for as long as the cold snap continues.


Amid the lack of space at warming centres, the TTC has deployed up to five buses at Spadina Station to get people out of the cold.

“This is something that we had been preparing for – starting last winter when we saw the numbers of people using public transit for shelter increasing,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told CP24. He noted that the situation is not unique to Toronto as other cities in North America are also seeing people turning to transit for warmth during the winter months.

“We’ve made significant investments in adding extra personnel, street outreach workers into the transit system to assist people to try and find shelter if it’s available.”

Stuart said the buses are meant to transport those seeking beds to an available shelter, and when there are no spaces, they will be allowed to stay on the vehicles overnight.

“Our policy is if people are using the transit system for shelter and they’re not causing any kind of safety or security risk, either to themselves or to others, if there’s no immediate threats, they’re allowed to stay on the system to keep warm,” he said.

“We will not put people out in the cold on days like today.”

Green said the buses being used are electric.


Despite the frigid temps, Toronto Pearson International Airport says operations are running as normal.

“Passengers are flowing smoothly through the terminals as we expect 437 total scheduled departures and 450 total scheduled arrivals today,” the airport said in a tweet.

However, there are some cancellations of flights headed to Germany, due to what the airport called a weather pattern in Europe. Half of all flights headed to Frankfurt have been cancelled due to the snow and ice there, the airport said.

“As always, check your flight status online before coming to the airport.”  


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