City of Vancouver opens warming centres as temperatures drop

IN response to the extreme cold weather forecasted starting December 24, the City of Vancouver is opening Warming Centres to provide additional capacity for people to come indoors between December 24 to 27. Warming Centres are activated in addition to Extreme Weather Response Shelters as an additional life-saving response for people sleeping outside when the temperature reaches -5°C or below (or it feels like -5°C or below). They are in addition to other initiatives taken by the City and the Province to ensure people in Vancouver who are experiencing homelessness have a place to keep warm during the winter months.

Warming Centres

Warming centres are activated when the temperature reaches -5°C or below (or it feels like -5°C or below). The City encourages anyone who is sleeping outside to visit one of these centres, which are open to all, including people who have pets and carts. Centres will provide hot drinks and snacks. Up to 101 Warming Centre spaces have been created to bring people inside:

  • Powell Street Getaway (528 Powell Street): Open daily 9 pm to 7 am
  • Odd Fellows Lodge (1443 W 8th Avenue): Open daily 10 pm to 8 am
  • Britannia Community Centre (Gym D) (1661 Napier Street): Open December 24 8 pm to 8 am, Decemebr 25 8 pm to 8 am, December 26 8 pm to 6:30 am
  • West End Community Centre (870 Denman St.):  Open December 24-25 11 pm to 9 am, each day.

Measures are in place at all Warming Centre locations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Face masks are required for everyone accessing Warming Centres and will be provided for free if needed. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required to access Warming Centres.

Health or social services provided to people in need, such as warming centres, are exempt from the Provincial Health Officer Gatherings and Events Order and are not subject to event or capacity limitations as announced on December 21.

Extreme Weather Response (EWR) Shelters

EWR shelters are funded by BC Housing and are activated when an extreme weather alert is issued for Vancouver (, when there is sleet or freezing rain, snow accumulation, and/or temperatures at or below 0°C, or “feels like” 0°C with wind chill. Up to 109 spaces have been created at the following locations to bring people inside:

  • Directions Youth Services Centre (1138 Burrard Street): Open 10 pm to 7 am
  • Tenth Church (11 10th Avenue West at Ontario Street): Open 9:30 pm to 9 am
  • Cascades Church (3833 Boundary Road, west side of Boundary): Open 9:30 pm to 9 am
  • Evelyne Saller Centre (320 Alexander Street): Open 11 pm to 7:30 am (Final intake at 1 a.m.)
  • Langara YMCA (282 W 49th Avenue, South side of 49th): Open 8 pm to 8 am
  • Bud Osborn EWR (27 West Hastings Street): Open 7:30 pm to 7:30 am

NOTE: Alerts for these EWR and Warming Centre spaces are circulated to partner agencies, community centre staff, outreach program staff and a variety of agencies serving individuals experiencing homelessness. Details are posted to the City’s website and social media channels and also available here. Check daily for any updates on locations and openings.

In addition to the extreme weather drop-in spaces above, there are also permanent and temporary shelters in operation. Those looking for shelter space can call 2-1-1 to check availability or find a full list of shelters online.

Additional Warm Spaces

As a reminder, community centres, public libraries and other public buildings are also available during their opening hours as spaces for people to come inside to warm up:

City of Vancouver Community Centres:

  • The Gathering Place (609 Helmcken Street): Open 8:30 am to 8 pm
  • Carnegie Community Centre (401 Main Street):  Open 9 am to 11 pm
  • Evelyne Saller Centre (320 Alexander Street): Open Monday–Friday 9 am to 11 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 10 pm

​Park Board Community Centres:

Vancouver Public Library:

  • Central Library Branch Atrium and Washroom (350 West Georgia Street): Open December 24 7 am to 6:30 pm, December 25–26 8 am to 8 pm daily
  • Library Branches:

Please check The City of Vancouver social media accounts for warming centre spaces open beyond December 27. The City is monitoring the evolving weather forecast closely and will be taking additional measures as needed.

Snow and Ice Response

In preparation for the freezing temperatures and potential snow, City crews are monitoring the weather and a coordinated response plan for snow and ice treatment is underway. Key routes including major roads, bus routes, bridges and the 15 most-used bike routes and pathways are currently being treated with brine ahead of potential snow and ice conditions.

The City’s response through the weekend will be guided by the weather. With over 100 vehicles, 8,000 tonnes of guaranteed salt supply, and hundreds of personnel available to deploy as required, crews will remain focused on keeping priority routes clear of snow and ice. If your vehicle is parked on a major route, please plan ahead by moving it to a side street or garage.

A map of the City’s prioritized plan can be viewed here.

Residents also have a critical role to play in our snow and ice response. Following a snow event, all property owners and tenants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property or residence the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week.

The City also encourages residents and businesses to lend a hand to those who are unable to shovel their own sidewalks, particularly seniors and people with mobility challenges by signing up to become a Snow Angel.

More information on the City’s winter response is available here.