TORONTO, ON., May 9, 2020 — Today the province announced that limited recreational activities will be permitted at Ontario Parks while maintaining physical distancing policies. The announcement by Premier Doug Ford, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, said the Ontario government is opening provincial parks and conservation reserves on Monday May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday May 15, 2020. At this time, recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.
Premier Ford says he encourages Ontarians to get out and use the parks in a responsible way. “I encourage people to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but please do so in a responsible way. Practise physical distancing and follow the rules set out by health care officials to stop the spread of this virus,” said Premier Ford.
The province says that on Monday, 520 provincial parks and conservation reserves across the province will open, and the remaining 115 will open on the following Friday for limited day-use activities. At this time, camping and other activities are not permitted at any provincial park or conservation reserve. All buildings and facilities including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds, and beaches continue to be closed.
“As we continue to make progress in our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are carefully and cautiously reopening the province, starting with certain businesses and retailers, and now our provincial parks and conservation reserves,” said Premier Ford.
“People are eager to enjoy the warmer weather, stretch their legs and reconnect with nature,” said Minister Yurek. “In consultation with our health experts, we’re working to slowly phase-in the opening of Ontario Parks in a measured way to ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff. People should take note that not all amenities will be open and plan accordingly.”
Over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks’ staff will be conducting critical maintenance and other parks start-up procedures, so that more recreational activities and facilities will be available when it is safe to do so.
Provincial officials also asked Ontarians to only go to parks that are close to their homes to avoid putting a strain on outlying communities.
Before planning your trip, please visit www.ontarioparks.com/park-locator to check the status of your local provincial park.
- Ontario Parks manages 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves covering over nine million hectares of land in the province.
- In 2019, Ontario Parks received more than 10 million visits.