victoria day 2021

These are the rules for the Victoria Day long weekend in Ontario during lockdown

The Ontario government has officially confirmed that stay-at-home orders and provincewide shutdown rules will be extended until at least June 2 of 2021, leaving people all over the land wondering: What does that mean for Victoria Day, aka the May 2-4 weekend?

For those who like to spend the annual holiday weekend camping with friends, drinking on patios, or anything else that's off-limits right now, it's not great news — but it's not entirely terrible either. At least now we can plan ahead.

"The announcement from the province today gives people and businesses clear expectations for the next few weeks, including the Victoria Day long weekend," said Toronto Mayor John Tory in response to the province's announcement of the lockdown extension on Thursday.

"This is something that people, myself and the other GTHA mayors and chairs, had been asking for and so I thank the premier for providing that predictability."

Under the current stay-at-home order, which first came into effect on April 8, overnight camping at provincially owned and operated parks is prohibited for most people.

"Campsites must be made available only for trailers and recreational vehicles that are used by individuals who are in need of housing [or] permitted to be there by the terms of a full season contract," reads the government's website.

"Only campsites with electricity, water services and facilities for sewage disposal may be provided. All recreational facilities in the campground and all other shared facilities in the campground, other than washrooms and showers, must be closed."

Provincial parks and conservation reserves do, however, remain open for day use "with some modifications or restrictions to ensure the safety of staff and visitors."

In other words, you can visit the gorgeous Ontario parks you might normally reserve campsites within, but you can't go into the campground parts. This applies to all campground and backcountry campsites, as well as roofed accommodations like cabins, yurts and cottages.

Private lakehouse owners can still go hang out in cottage country, legally, though officials recommend avoiding non-essential travel. Cottagers must also keep in mind that most social gatherings beyond members of the same household remain strictly prohibited.

Gathering limits are zero both indoors and outdoors across the entire province, so any May 2-4 parties you might have planned (even in your backyard) are also off the table.

Being that outdoor recreational amenities are still banned, you can't even strike up a beach volleyball game. You can visit the beach, sure, you just can't use any of the facilities and must remain at least six feet away from anyone you don't live with.

If you already optimistically booked a campsite for Victoria Day through Ontario Parks or Parks Canada, you'll be relieved to note that any reservations cancelled due to government orders will be refunded without penalty.

As for when you can get out and camp or light fireworks with your friends again, it all depends on how daily case numbers and ICU admissions track in the weeks ahead.

"While we are seeing positive trends as a result of the public health measures put in place, we cannot afford to let up yet," said Ford on Thursday.

"If we stay the course for the next two weeks, and continue vaccinating record numbers of Ontarians every day, we can begin looking forward to July and August and having the summer that everyone deserves."

Lead photo by

Jack Nobre


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