TORONTO, ON. Today, Mayor John Tory made a relatively big announcement that will put smiles on the faces of many Torontonians. Along with Dr. Eileen de Villa, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto will open more than 850 park amenities this week, following the Province of Ontario’s amendments to an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The City of Toronto closed all parks amenities in March, based on public health advice and ahead of the provincial order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the city.
The City already opened Five BMX locations, 14 skateboard parks and four disc golf locations today, and said that many parks’ parking lots will also reopen this week at parks across the city.
On Tuesday the City already opened more than 70 off-leash dog parks across Toronto. Well that will be expanded this weekend to include soccer fields, baseball diamonds, basketball courts and picnic shelters. Torontonians will also see nets gradually going up at their 185 tennis locations.
The reopening of parks amenities will continue into next week, as staff work with Toronto Public Health to open lawn bowling facilities and outdoor bocce.
Park amenities scheduled to open in time for this upcoming weekend include:
• picnic shelters
• more than 300 soccer and multi-use outdoor fields
• more than 300 baseball diamonds and
• 150 basketball courts.
“Based on the advice of our public health officials, we are moving quickly and carefully to open more than 850 park amenities this week across the city,” said Mayor John Tory today. This is great news for all Toronto residents who enjoy our parks. I’m confident the vast majority of residents will continue to respect physical distancing rules while using these amenities to help us stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Permits for soccer, multi-use fields and baseball diamonds continue to be cancelled until June 29. Individuals may use outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields for non-team sports, such as walking, running, biking, skateboarding, frisbee, kicking a ball, and low contact racquet sports like tennis, badminton, pickleball and ping pong. Individuals are not permitted to play team sports, such as soccer or baseball, even on fields intended for this purpose unless they are members of the same household.
Playgrounds, pools, High Park zoo, Riverdale Farm and more remain closed in Toronto
Let’s not get too carried away yet as the city isn’t entirely back to a new normal. Many places remain closed including playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, swimming pools and splash pads. Also, greenhouses, nurseries and conservatories, along with the popular High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm also remain closed. Waterfront parking lots will remain closed for the time being, and High Park will continue to be closed to traffic on the weekends.
While visiting a park, people must continue to practise physical distancing. Signage is being installed at open park amenity areas to remind users of the importance of physical distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect the safety and well-being of all residents. People must always stay two metres (six feet) apart while visiting the City’s parks. If a resident arrives at an amenity that is crowded, they are advised to wait until there is enough space to physically distance or return at another time.
Toronto’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team continues to keep watch
The City says their COVID-19 Enforcement Team will continue monitoring popular parks across the city to ensure residents are practising physical distancing. Enforcement of the City’s physical distancing bylaw and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act orders is ongoing.
Residents are encouraged to use the self-assessment tool on the Ontario Ministry of Health website for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before heading out to use a park amenity. It is available at covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment. If residents do not pass the assessment, they should remain at home and not use park amenities.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.