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How to stay cool on the hottest day of the year

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Cooling off is the goal in Calgary several days into a heat wave that is expected to spike Wednesday into the mid-30s.

Many people are finding relief in the Bow or Elbow rivers but officials remind people boating or floating to take precautions, including always wearing life jackets that fit properly and are fastened.

“The water is gliding fast, it’s very cold and despite the heat you’re still at risk of hypothermia if you wind up in the water for an extended period of time,” said Carol Henke, a spokesperson for the Calgary Fire Department.

Firefighters have completed more than 20 water rescues over the past four days.

“That’s boats, rafts that have flipped over, people that are stuck on rocks or islands and can’t get off and they need us to come rescue them," said Henke.

Henke also warns people to always have an oar on-board and not to tie boats or rafts together.

“You don’t understand the strength of the current until you strike a bridge abutment and you get pinned there, and that’s where we really have to rescue people quickly because you’re at risk of drowning.”

The City of Calgary has not set up any cooling stations but has a map online highlighting public buildings with pools, ice rinks and air-conditioning, including all 21 Calgary Public Library locations.

“We’ve been seeing people happy coming in to have our great Wi-Fi, great services but also a place to chill out,” said Mary Kapusta director of communications with Calgary Public Library.

“It’s a good reminder to have those going practices, so if you’re out with the kids, step into the library, read a little book, take a little break.”

It's so hot, some air conditioners are being overloaded. 

The Hudson's Bay store at Southcentre is among several across Canada temporarily closed due to what the chain calls a heat wave-induced strain on the HVAC systems.

Soaking in the mist at Calgary Stampede is a popular strategy as extreme heat warnings make the mostly paved park swelter.

"It's scorching hot down here," said Yoel Daniel while enjoying Stampede Park with his cousins.

"Do the mist, it really helps!"

Others are finding shelter and sweet treats.

"Ice cream and lots of water, and the shade helps," said Meghan Davis while visiting with her kids.

Central Library has especially seen a surge in visitors during the sweltering days of Stampede.

“It’s a really nice place to cool down, especially if you go down to Stampede, which I did this morning,” said Calgarian Tasnia Hoque.

For more tips on water safety and public places to cool off,  go here, or here.

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