Local: 778-265-5331 | Toll Free: 1-888-832-1733

Warming Centres: a haven in Canadian Winters

Warming Centre


In the cold Canadian Winters, warming centres are a inviting option for many people.  With an average temperature of -15 Celsius, vulnerable Canadians struggle to find warmth during the winter months.  Cold temperatures use up your body’s stored energy. A body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making you unable to think clearly or move well.  Dangers associated with  extremely cold temperatures in include hypothermia and frostbite.

The History of Warming Centres

Although, humans have always sought warmth from the cold, and offered shelter to others, the beginning of the term warming centre is believed to have been started at the end of World War II.  In 1945 in Berlin, much of the city was destroyed and there was a lack of resources and organization.  Blankets and warm clothing was distributed, and plans were made to develop public “warming centres” to support the population.  Since then, shelters for warmth have become more common.  Many North American cities gradually adopted this concept as their vulnerable population grew.

Locations of Warming Centres

Cities that are in a constantly cold climate area usually always have warming centres available throughout the winter. If a town or city is in a more mild climate, they may open warming centres as cold weather is present or forecast.  There is currently not a Canada wide map of all locations, but an online search of your local area should provide locations and availability for those in need.

Benefits for the vulnerable

Warming shelters can provide a variety of services and comforts for people dealing with extreme cold.  These services can include:

  • shelter for people and possibly pets
  • food and warm drinks
  • bathroom facilities
  • winter mitts, toques, and clothing

Are Warming Centres for everyone?

Each warming centre will have it’s own criteria for who is welcome to com, therefore some barriers could be:

  • having pets
  • mental illness
  • criminal backgrounds

Some people would simply rather deal with the cold in their own way, and refuse to go to a warming centre even if available.  What are the alternatives for vulnerable people who are restricted or unwilling to be in a warming shelter?


At Total Prepare, we have put together a Humanitarian Winter Kit designed for people without access to public centres. It includes essential items like a waterproof HeatStore reflective sleeping bag, a -20C sleeping bag, socks, hand warmers, mittens, toque along with other helpful items.



Set your categories menu in Header builder -> Mobile -> Mobile menu element -> Show/Hide -> Choose menu
Shopping cart