OTTAWA -- It’s the hottest May 27 in Ottawa history.

The temperature peaked at 34.8C at the Ottawa Airport at 3 p.m., setting a record for warmest May 27 in Ottawa. The previous record was 31.9C, set back in 1978.

With the humidex, it felt like 40 degrees Wednesday afternoon.

For those without air conditioning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the heat is unbearable.

“It’s brutal, my apartment right now is 38 degrees,” said Ed Bonvie.

Building management at his west Ottawa high-rise said in an e-mail to CTV News Ottawa that maintenance on the chillers has been delayed by COVID-19 and that the air conditioning should be up and running by the end of day Thursday.

“It’s very hard on people, it’s very hard on animals, children, elderly, it’s just not good,” Bonvie said. “This is not the first time this has happened, it was the same situation last year.”

Places people would typically seek reprieve from the heat like malls, movie theatres and libraries are all closed due to the pandemic.

The city has opened four cooling centres and two Ottawa councillors are calling for one more to be opened closer to downtown: the Hintonburg area or even City Hall among the suggestions.

With record-breaking heat, many said they are choosing to embrace it…humidity and all.

“It’s about time with the cold and long spring we got we’re very happy to have the sun today,” said one beachgoer.

“They’re loving it, they’re really excited, they’ve been cooped up for awhile so this is really a treat for us,” said Maria Frisby who enjoyed some time in the water with her family.

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Ottawa, warning humidex values reaching 37 are expected until Thursday.

“Daytime temperatures in the low to mid 30s are expected this afternoon and the temperatures are forecast to be similar on Thursday. Humidex values in the mid to upper 30s are also expected,” said Environment Canada in a statement.

“A cold front will bring a few showers and lower temperatures to eastern Ontario on Friday.”

Cooling centres open

The City of Ottawa has opened four cooling centres for residents who don't have air conditioning and whose normal escape from the heat—be it shopping malls, libraries, or other businesses—are closed or limiting customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cooling centres are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and can be found here:

  • Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre: 102 Greenview Avenue
  • Hunt Club Riverside Park Community Centre: 3320 Paul Anka Drive
  • Sandy Hill Community Centre: 250 Somerset Street East
  • St-Laurent Complex: 525 Coté Street

Ottawa Public Health offers tips to protect yourself and help others during hot weather:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Avoid heavy outdoor activity
  • Wear a hat, light and looser-fitting clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses when outside
  • Cool off in an air-conditioned space when available
  • Cool off in the shade or at a park, greenspace
  • Use a fan and mist your skin with water
  • Take cool baths and showers
  • Keep your home cool by closing blinds and curtains on south facing windows during the day

Ottawa Public Health recommends you watch for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and sunburn, including headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.