Toronto to reopen more than 850 park amenities this week

May 20 2020, 12:50 pm

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.

Toronto initially closed all park amenities in March, based on public health advice to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the city.

Already, the City opened more than 70 off-leash dog parks across Toronto on Tuesday.

And, five BMX locations, 14 skateboard parks and four-disc golf locations are opening on Wednesday.

Many parks’ parking lots will also reopen this week at parks across the city.

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
  • 150 basketball courts.

According to the City, staff are also preparing more than 600 tennis courts at 185 locations, to begin to open this weekend.

The reopening of park amenities will continue into next week, as staff work with Toronto Public Health to open lawn bowling facilities and outdoor bocce.

“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,” Tory said in a statement.

“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.”

It is important to note, that permits for soccer, multi-use fields, and baseball diamonds continue to be cancelled until June 29.

According to the City, 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.

But, 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.

Park amenities that continue to be closed include playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, swimming pools, and splash pads. Greenhouses, nurseries and conservatories, High Park Zoo, and Riverdale Farm also remain closed, as do the waterfront parking lots.

In addition, 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,” the City said.

“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.”

The City’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team will continue monitoring popular parks across the city to ensure residents are practising physical distancing.