December 21, 2017
It is Wednesday evening, December 13, and the city has declared a cold alert for the third consecutive day. Temperatures are expected to drop down to -18 degrees Celsius, -26 with the wind chill. Tonight, a record 468 people will make their way to Toronto’s four warming centres, three Out of the Cold programs, and two 24-hour drop-ins for women. Situated in the heart of “skid row,” All Saints Anglican Church, which houses one of four warming centres, will shelter close to 100 people. Margaret’s Toronto East Drop-In Centre staffs the warming centre, and they have rented the parish hall at the back of the church and the larger portion the nave (sanctuary) at the front of the church, too. Mats will be handed out, along with a blanket to those lucky enough to get them. Others will simply find a space on the wooden floor. Temperatures inside the nave go down as low as 14 degrees Celsius, meaning that most people will sleep fully clothed and with their winter coats on to try and stay warm.