Well, it isn’t summer until it welcomes you with all the warmth it could provide, is it?
As mother nature is preparing to send sun to beat us down mercilessly, folks in Burnaby might be scrambling to keep their cool.
In Chennai, India, where I grew up, there were hardly any summers which didn’t see temperatures soaring up to 50 degrees Celsius. An average summer day at 35 to 40 degrees Celsius would have me dripping with sweat, reaching for my air conditioner’s remote and constantly whining about the bane of my existence in a tropical country when the power would shut down.
All of it to say, I may have one or two tricks up the sleeve to manage extreme heat in the summer.
Here are some suggestions to find your cool this weekend — beyond a first (obvious) suggestion to invest in an air conditioner.
Use city facilities
In the forecast of extreme heat, the city is opening up four of its cooling centres from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at Bonsor Recreation Complex, Cameron Community Centre, Edmonds Community Centre, Eileen Dailly Leisure Pool & Fitness Centre. The cooling centres will welcome everyone and have comfortable seating, drinking water, washrooms, pay showers, Wi-Fi and electrical outlets.
The city is also supporting two pop-up outdoor cooling stations, run by the Society to End Homelessness in Burnaby at Civic Square, outside Bob Prittie Metrotown Library and Kensington Park.
Or you could try to find relief from the heat by hitting up other public facilities like the libraries (the trick is to find the right spot to hide away from the sun — like you would an ex), recreation centres, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby Village Museum, city hall and malls during its operating hours.
Get a little shady
It’s time to inhale some greens in Burnaby (we mean the parks and rec kind). Burnaby has lots of green cover that you can enjoy a good stroll in. Spray parks, outdoor pools, water fountains, misting stations and shade structures have been set up by the city and outlined in this interactive map for you to get wet and cool down.
According to the city, Confederation, Edmonds, Suncrest and Cameron spray parks will open early — starting this weekend (May 13 and 14).
Beat the heat with summer drinks — be it mango-based drinks, coffee slushies from Soon Coffee or beer parties at Dageraad this weekend. But if the idea of doubling down on your sunscreen and going out in the sun for a drink seems overwhelming to you, just head to your kitchen for some DIY summer drinks.
Water is your best friend this summer. Make sure you drink plenty — add some cucumbers, lemon and mint for a more refreshing taste.
Coconut water is another foolproof drink to quench your thirst this summer.
Another summer drink I loved growing up is roohafza sherbet/ rose milk. Just add a couple of tablespoons of Rooh Afza syrup (your local Indian stores or Walmart might carry them) to a cup of water or milk and enjoy.
Another summer drink from India that can be relished during this heat is a buttermilk/yogurt-based Lassi (sweet or salty) — for sweet lassi, crush some cardamom, add to whisked yogurt with sugar. For a salty lassi, add some water, salt and cumin powder to the yogurt and whisk together until it turns frothy. Top it with black pepper and coriander garnish.
Ready, set, eat
The best way to maintain a healthy diet and feel refreshed is to eat light meals — that means salads, fruits and veggies with more water content (watermelons, cucumbers).
A personal favourite is a hearty curd rice. For those who don’t know, curd rice is a South India staple — soft mushy rice mixed with yogurt and salt and topped with spices and curry leaves, which you can find at your nearby Indian supermarket. For the best taste, use fresh soft-cooked cooled rice and buy 2 per cent yogurt or “Dahi.”
Don’t invite the sun to your room
What’s worse than a hot room? To keep your room and bed cool, invest in some white cotton curtains to shut the sun out. If you wanted to add some colour to your room, invest in cooling colours like green or blue — keep it light and steer clear of orange or red curtains.
Wear cotton clothing as it absorbs sweat and helps you cool down. Fabrics like cotton have more breathability, so it is best to wear airy cotton clothes in light colours this summer. Avoid satin, nylon and any polyester clothing.
Steer clear of black if you want to keep cool this summer. Black absorbs more heat from the sun, making you feel hotter. So your black suits, denims and dresses can wait another six months unless you want to spend your days drenched in regret (and sweat).
Always remember to wear sunscreen when you head out in the sun, and wash your face often.
You can also keep a cotton handkerchief handy — soak it in cold water and apply it to your face or body to instantly cool you down.