Ontario parks, High Park begin to reopen with limitations

Starting Monday, May 11, provincial parks and conservation reserves have also reopened to the public for limited day use.

The decision was announced during Doug Ford’s public address to Ontario on the weekend, with guidelines put in place so that people going to these parks continue to practice physical distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Recreational activities at these reopened parks are limited for the time being. Ford has stated that walking, hiking, biking, and bird watching will be the activities permitted during his address on May 9.

Playgrounds, camping, facilities, and beaches will remain closed for the time being, as the two-metre physical distancing continues to be heavily urged for people to practice.

“We’re trusting people to be responsible and take this seriously so they can enjoy themselves while staying safe and healthy,” Ford said when addressing the media.

Group activities at these parks will continue to be unauthorized, and buildings, washrooms, water taps, and roofed areas will remain closed.

Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek is asking Ontarians to go to the parks nearest to them rather than travelling to a far one.

Ontario Parks has stated that maintenance for the green spaces will be done over several weeks so that recreational activities will be ready for when reopening is deemed safe.

High Park reopens

Toronto has kept a majority of its public parks open except for High Park, one of the city’s favorite destinations during the spring.

High Park was closed to the public on April 30 in fear that the physical distancing measures being urged to the citizens would be ignored due to the park’s cherry blossoms being in season during this time.

With High Park closed, many who wanted to watch the cherry blossoms would have to do so via livestream held by the city so that people could still see the trees while maintaining the physical distancing measures put in place.

Many were not pleased about the decision to close the park during this time, with some even sneaking into the park at night and illegally hopping over the fence put in front of the cherry blossoms.

Monday, May 11, the park has finally reopened, allowing citizens to view the cherry blossoms in person before the season ends.

Sticking to trails, ravines, and green spaces while maintaining physical distance with others is advised for those going to High Park and other open parks in the city.

Written by: Angelo Cruz

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