How they’re beating the heat in Burnaby

Alodia Mulingtanpang, an interpreter at Burnaby Village Musuem, demonstrates how to keep cool, 1920
Alodia Mulingtanpang, an interpreter at Burnaby Village Musuem, demonstrates how to keep cool, 1920's style. Instead of air conditioning and ice cream, the shade of a porch, a parasol, a glass of minted lemonade and lace gloves were the cooling methods of choice.

It would take another week of hot temperatures before Dave Ellenwood breaks a sweat.

Burnaby’s director of parks and recreation said the city’s four outdoor swimming pools and seven spray parks have been well-equipped to cope with the demand for cooling waters during the recent spell of summery weather.

After a brief respite, the hot weather is expected to return early next week according to Environment Canada.

“People are flocking to the water and we do have a lot of options,” said Ellenwood.

“It’s typical of the same periods in other years.”

Ellenwood said the city’s facilities have been busy, especially during the free swimming sessions offered at the pools on Sundays, and at the spray pools and Barnet Beach, which are always free.

But if the hot weather stretches into a third week, his department would consider adding hours at the pools and filling up the city’s wading pools for longer periods.

“When there’s no respite from the heat, we take extraordinary measures,” said Ellenwood.

Meanwhile, at Burnaby Village Museum, volunteers and visitors are falling back on tried-and-true cooling techniques.

That’s because there was no air conditioning in the 1920s. So interpreters are putting old electric fans on display and waving handheld ones to keep themselves cool.

Parasols are a functional and fashionable accessory to keep the sun away, and a tall glass of cool lemonade stirred with a branch of mint, sipped slowly on the shady porch of Elworth House is a special summer indulgence, said the museum’s Nancy Stagg.

Refrigerators still weren’t common in many households, so that meant regular visits from the ice wagon for delivery of frozen blocks to be placed in an ice box where perishable foods could be stored and beverages cooled.

Of course the lack of household refrigeration made it impossible to keep ice cream frozen, so that made the neighbourhood ice cream parlour a popular destination on hot days.

In fact, said Stagg, it still is.




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