social distancing toronto

Toronto is about to start ticketing people who keep using park facilities

The City of Toronto is taking further action against residents who continue to use playgrounds, picnic tables and outdoor exercise equipment after officially closing down all public parks facilities last week.

It's not ideal, but it is necessary according to Mayor John Tory, as reports flood in of people gathering en masse all over the city despite orders to stay home and social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tory told CP24 on Monday that he has asked bylaw enforcement officers to begin a "ticketing blitz" that would penalize anyone found accessing shut-down public facilities.

"I am very fed up with this," said Tory of the behaviour, which is said to have included kicking down closure signs and ripping police tape from playground structures.

"I think it is stupid and it is life-threatening because this is the kind of thing that spreads the virus and causes the death toll in places that we have seen like New York and Italy," he continued.

"Do people not watch television and see what is going on in other parts of the world where people are not paying attention to this or they started doing it too late?"

Along with the ticketing blitz — which will see those in forbidden park areas land fines of up to $5,000 — Tory said that his team is considering closing all 1,500 of the city's parks completely.

As it stands now, green spaces within parks are still accessible to the public, but those who use them must maintain a distance of at least two metres between themselves and non-family members.

With so many people flocking to waterfront trails and large parks like Trinity Bellwoods over the weekend, that rule has been tough to follow for even the most well-intentioned of nature-seekers.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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