parks open in toronto

Parks are open in Toronto but here's what you're still not allowed to do in them

Parks are open in Toronto which is a good thing since they serve as a great place to get some exercise, relax and appreciate the beauty of nature — but it's important to remember that some amenities and activities are still restricted in parks across the city as a result of the pandemic. 

So before you head out for an afternoon picnic or socially distanced gathering, make sure you're aware of exactly what's allowed in Toronto parks right now. 

"We know how important parks are for respite and serenity as well as an escape to nature and green space in our city," reads a City of Toronto webpage about city services in the age of COVID-19. "Parks remain open, however, some amenities remain closed including outdoor fitness equipment and playgrounds."

First off, it's important to note that both provincial orders and a municipal bylaw requiring social distancing remain in effect, meaning everyone in a park or city square is required to maintain a distance of at least two metres from anyone outside their household or social circle.

"Gatherings of more than 10 people, who are not members of the same household or members of a social circle, are not permitted by provincial order," notes the city webpage.

Anyone caught breaking the social distancing bylaw could be issued a fine of $1,000.

Individuals are also not permitted to play team sports in parks, such as soccer or baseball, even on fields intended for this purpose, unless they are members of the same household.

Other amenities that remain closed in city parks include playgrounds, play structures and equipment; fixed barbecues; outdoor exercise equipment; greenhouses, nurseries and conservatories; High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm; and ice rinks (with or without ice). 

As always, consuming alcohol in parks is prohibited under the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 608, Parks, and anyone caught in possession of an open liquor container in a park without a permit, providing or supplying liquor in a park to someone who appears to be underage or consuming/selling/serving liquor in a park without a permit could receive a $300 fine. 

Residents could also receive a $100 fine for consuming alcohol in a park under the provincial Liquor Licence Act

But while this may seem like an overwhelming amount of things Torontonians can't do in parks right now, there are still plenty of activities that are permitted.

Park-goers are free to 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.

Residents are also allowed to walk, run or bike in parks, ravine green spaces, beaches, trails, and boardwalks, and green space in parks is also available for public use for those wishing to rest or read a book. 

"You are allowed to bring a picnic to the park or sit on a blanket and enjoy the park setting as long as everyone present is a member of a single household, and that they remain more than two metres away from others not from their household who may also be the park," reads the city webpage.

People in Toronto can also bring their dogs to off-leash areas; fish with a license; boat, kayak and canoe; use BMX and skateboard parks as well as disc golf locations; use bocce and lawn bowling facilities; and picnic tables and picnic shelters are also available for use by five or fewer people from the same household with appropriate physical distancing from others.

Park parking lots are also now open, except for Sunnyside Park and Sir Casimir Gzowski Park waterfront lots. High Park will continue to be closed to traffic on the weekends. 

Public washrooms in parks also reopened to the public on June 20.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim at Riverdale Park

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