trinity bellwoods park

Trinity Bellwoods is the most problematic park for social distancing violations in Toronto

Today in news that should surprise nobody who's ever walked through West Queen West on a sunny day, Toronto is struggling to stop people from congregating in Trinity Bellwoods Park.

The sprawling public green space, a summer mecca of sorts for day-drinking hipsters, bros playing spikeball and elderly can collectors, is currently number one on the city's list of pandemic order violation hot spots.

"Trinity Bellwoods Park remains the most problematic park in the city when it comes to people flaunting regulations in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives," reads an update from the City of Toronto on its weekend enforcement activities.

"Yesterday, the City received 156 complaints involving people using outdoor amenities or not practising physical distancing in parks."

Like all city-owned parks, Trinity Bellwoods remains open to the public — but pretty much only for the purpose of walking through while maintaining a distance of at least two metres from all other people.

Under current emergency orders, which prohibit the use of park amenities across the entire City of Toronto, residents can't even chill at a picnic table without risking a $1,000 fine.

Forget about goofing around the baseball diamond or chatting with your fellow fur parents in the dog bowl (and based on Instagram posts I won't link to for fear of sicking a pitchfork mob, the latter continues to happen a lot).

Bellwoods is far from alone in enticing Toronto residents and visitors to break the rules in search of some outdoor fun, however.

The City stated in its most-recent media release that hundreds of vehicles were also turned away from Bluffer's Park on Saturday and that "a number of people attempted to ignore pylons and closure signs in Palace Pier Park to gather at Sheldon Lookout."

Toronto police and municipal bylaw enforcement officers issued 28 tickets on Saturday alone for either using outdoor amenities or not practising physical distancing in parks.

This brings the total number of such tickets issued in a just over two-week-long period to 401.

In terms of non-essential businesses that continue to operate in contravention of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, 25 complaints were received on Saturday. Forty-four tickets and 124 notices have been issued under the act since March 24.

"The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19," writes the City.

"Residents are reminded of the importance of reducing all contact with others as much as possible and staying home except for essential outings to help stop the community spread of the deadly virus."

As of Monday morning, 3,546 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in Toronto with 173 deaths and 184 confirmed recoveries.

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