News Release
June 7, 2023

The City of Toronto is adjusting some programming in response to the ongoing Special Air Quality Statement in effect for Toronto. While most City services are continuing uninterrupted, there are changes to City-run daycare operations and cancellations of some recreation and cultural programming.

With the poor air quality caused by smoke plumes from Quebec and northeastern Ontario forest fires expected to continue into the weekend, residents registered or planning to take part in City programming, particularly outdoor activities, are encouraged to check the City’s website for the latest updates on program changes. Advice on how people can protect their health and the health of loved ones can be found on the Government of Canada’s Air Quality Health Index webpage.

Recreation programs

The City has cancelled some City-run outdoor recreation programs scheduled for today, Wednesday, June 7 and tomorrow, Thursday, June 8. Other programs were able to be modified and moved indoors. Program registrants are being contacted directly and will be provided updates on any future cancellations or other changes.

City sport fields, baseball diamonds and parks remain open and available. Toronto Public Health recommends organizers of outdoor sporting events consider air quality when making decisions about holding or modifying events.

Toronto Early Learning & Child Care Centres

The City has suspended outdoor activities at its directly operated Toronto Early Learning & Child Care Centres, in line with measures taken by Toronto school boards. Parents and guardians are being updated directly about program impacts for the duration of the Special Air Quality Statement.

Supports for people experiencing homelessness

The City continues to offer a number of services to help individuals experiencing homelessness. This includes approximately 9,000 shelter spaces and a network of drop-in programs located across the city. More information can be found at

The City also maintains a map of cool spaces that are available for people to use throughout the summer to beat the heat and also in situations like this. The map includes locations such as libraries, and community and civic centres. The interactive map can be found on the City’s Cool Spaces Near You webpage.

The City’s Streets to Homes community outreach team is continuing to connect with those living outside to conduct wellness checks, provide water and encourage people to come indoors. In light of worsening air quality, the City is working to activate additional temporary contingency spaces at various shelter sites in areas not used for sleeping, such as common areas. These will be used to help those staying outside have access to even more indoor spaces.

St. Lawrence Market

The Market is reviewing outdoor programming and will be advising of any impacts to planned events on the St. Lawrence Market website.

Toronto History Museums

Toronto History Museums have cancelled all outdoor programming until the Special Air Quality Statement is lifted. More information on Toronto History Museum programming is available on the City’s website.

Effects of air pollution

Even at low concentrations, wildfire smoke can be harmful to people’s health. Exposure to air pollutants, like smoke, can cause a range of symptoms including irritated eyes, increased mucus production, coughing and difficulty breathing. Seniors, pregnant people, infants and young children, people who work outdoors and people with existing illnesses or chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of health problems when exposed to air pollution.

Toronto Public Health is encouraging everyone in Toronto to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke. People should be aware of their sensitivity to air pollution and take appropriate measures to protect their health, including avoiding strenuous outdoor activity and limiting time outside as much as possible. Windows should be kept closed if the temperature is comfortable. Those with air conditioning are encouraged to use it and, if possible, set HVAC systems to recirculate air and use HEPA air filters.

The Government of Canada’s Air Quality Health Index is a useful tool for assessing air quality and learning ways to reduce the health affects of air pollutants. More information on the Special Air Quality Statement in effect for Toronto is on the Environment and Climate Change Canada Alerts webpage.

Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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