The City of Toronto is preparing for the opening of summer camps by July 13, and outdoor aquatic activities are set to open when the city can enter Stage 2 at the direction of the Ontario government.
On Wednesday, Mayor John Tory announced that CampTO and SwimTO will offer families and residents the ability to get outdoors in the summer, while following safety measures to ensure COVID-19 does not spread.
Starting on July 13, CampTO will open, which comes after the Ontario government allowed summer camps to open province-wide on Tuesday.
“The program will provide a high quality camp experience for children age six to 12,” Tory said.
He said that there will be dance, music, arts and crafts and physical activities for the camp-goers, with camps taking place in Parks, Forestry and Recreation locations across the city.
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There will also be six museums and one art centre available for the camps.
According to Tory, there are 32,000 spaces available for over eight weeks of camp at 150 locations around the city.
“Due to public health precautions this will be a smaller program than our usual summer camps,” the mayor said.
He added that he hopes the modified camps offer parents or caregivers who need to go back to work, the option to have their children looked after during the day, and to offer employment to young people who need job opportunities.
On June 24, residents in Etobicoke, York, and Scarborough can apply for the CampTO program and on June 25, Toronto, East York, and North York can do the same.
“Summer camps are so important for many in our kids so I’m glad we can offer it during the pandemic,” Tory said. “City staff have worked hard so we can operate safely.”
The mayor also announced that SwimTO, a “quick launch program” that will help Torontonians access outdoor aquatic activities is getting ready to reopen when the province allows Toronto to enter Stage 2 of economic recovery.
This includes, swimming beaches, outdoor and wading pools, and splash pads.
“All residents can safely access outdoor aquatic recreation and cool down during the hot summer,” Tory added. “It’s vital that Torontonians have an opportunity to cool down outdoors.”
There are 300 city-run outdoor aquatic amenities, which includes 59 outdoors pools, 100 wading pools, 140 splash pads, and 11 supervised beaches.
As part of the SwimTO plan, lifeguards will return to six of Toronto’s swimming beaches on Monday, June 22. Lifeguards will supervise each location daily from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Swimming without the supervision of a lifeguard or outside designated swim areas is not recommended. The City will provide lifeguard supervision on swimming beaches coupled with comprehensive crowd management.
Beach water quality testing and analysis will be completed by Toronto Public Health to ensure people can swim safely at Toronto beaches.
The six swimming beaches opening on June 22 are: Bluffer’s Park Beach; Cherry/Clarke Beach; Kew-Balmy Beach; Marie Curtis Park East Beach; Sunnyside Beach and Woodbine Beach.
Tory said the City is currently making plans for SwimTO to expedite the openings when the province finally gives the go-ahead, which the mayor said could be as early as June 19.
It was noted that physical distancing and hygiene signage will be implemented and enforced.
It is expected that capacity at outdoor pools will be significantly reduced.
According to the City, staff are awaiting provincial guidelines and will prioritize leisure swims throughout the day in order to give as many swimmers as possible the opportunity to cool off.
Under the City’s physical distancing bylaw, any two people who don’t live together, who fail to keep two metres of distance between them in a City park or public square, can receive a $1,000 ticket.
Under the Province’s Emergency Order, a social gathering or organized public event of more than 10 people is prohibited, unless everyone gathered together lives in the same household.
To date, there are a total of 12, 949 cases in the city with 10, 310 recovered.