Winter is a good time to start thinking about Stratford’s ability to keep its citizens cool and safe. Many sectors of our population are at risk; the elderly, the very young, people with disabilities or health concerns — in fact, if it gets hot enough, ALL of us are at risk.

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in partnership with The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE) has been funded by the Government of Canada to develop a set of digital tools to help public and environmental health professionals, urban planners, and the general public easily access, use and contribute to data on healthy urban environments.

Their first tool has now been released, and it’s very useful. It allows you to search areas of our city for key characteristics — flood susceptibility, air pollution, number of healthy food outlets, and other key measures of a healthy city. You can then match these areas to a segment of the population — by age, income, immigration or minurity  status, and other social measures. It then illustrates its findings with an image, and the whole report can be easily downloaded as a PDF file. It even gives a ranking of how Stratford measures up to what other cities are doing. Very useful for those of us who are following the revision of our Official Plan.

We chose to look at the vulnerability of  low income neighbourhoods to heat waves.  We started wih a measure of the average summer temperature for low income individuals. Here’s the result:

map of average temperature in low income neighbourhoods found at























You can see at a glance that there are identifiable hotspots in Stratford’s lower income areas. We then looked at tree cover for that same group, to see if there was a correlation, and the result clearly shows neighbourhoods in need of improvement. It the top right corner of the illustration you’ll see Stratford’s rating in comparison with other cities of our size — not impressive, looks like we should get to work.























This is a great tool, and it may prove useful in helping residents contribute to creating our new Official Plan. You can try it for yourself at   You’re always welcome to use the comments tool at the bottom of this page to discuss what you find.