Toronto finally reopens water fountains after outpouring of complaints
This past weekend was a scorcher in Toronto, with 30+ C temps drawing residents out of their houses to enjoy the sunny, summery weather by hitting up beaches, parks, the islands and other outdoor settings while patio dining and other activities remain off-limits (albeit only for a few more days).
Unfortunately for those who were out and about in the city's green spaces, staying hydrated proved to be far more of a challenge than usual, since all water fountains across T.O. still appeared to be out of order.
*All* of the fountains need to be on. Now! This is dangerous! Covid does not spread on fountains!! https://t.co/wDF2BUZ1Qq— Peter Leventis (@PeterLeventis) June 6, 2021
Residents were shocked and disappointed to find that they couldn't grab a quick sip of fluids or fill up their water bottles at park fountains, which was especially concerning given the heat wave and the fact that Toronto parks have been so damn busy lately.
Lakeshore and Leslie... right at the corner of #ActiveTO no water pic.twitter.com/GtqUpJ0Ut9— a dude (@Dude95316547) June 6, 2021
There is also the fact that outdoor recreational amenities such as sports fields and tennis courts in our green spaces have been open for a few weeks now — and the people using them to stay active will naturally need a drink of water.
:) not a chance would we want your water cut off. But it begs the question for our council member here in #TorontoDanforth, Is this response BS? We’ve hundreds of people utilizing our parks this weekend and this what it sounds like getting water at Jimmie Simpson Park! pic.twitter.com/bNNAmq8cGd— Lanrick Bennett Jr. (@LanrickBennett) June 6, 2021
As part of the reopening of park amenities, things like splash pads also resumed operations in late May. But yet, counterintuitively, drinking fountains still weren't operational for some reason.
No water at Lionel Conacher Park this morning. Hot sunny day already. Classic Toronto. pic.twitter.com/thjvV9xCm5— Tenblock (@TenblockTO) June 7, 2021
So many complaints on the topic abounded on social media that Ward 14 Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher tweeted to let citizens know that apparently, provincial COVID-19 restrictions prohibited fountains from opening, but that local politicians were on the case.
For everyone writing about water fountains in parks - provincial regulations do not allow them to be operational yet. They are on the provincial restriction list. @joe_cressy working overtime to get this fixed.— Paula Fletcher (@PaulaFletcherTO) June 6, 2021
In response to the commotion, Mayor John Tory finally addressed the issue, stating Monday afternoon that 200 park water sources were now open, and that city staff were working toward opening all 700 ASAP.
Pleased to announce City crews are working to open all 700 water fountains in parks.— John Tory (@JohnTory) June 7, 2021
200 fountains are open now and Parks officials have received advice from @TOPublicHealth so we can reopen all fountains across Toronto ASAP. pic.twitter.com/0fo7BkWRAT
Hopefully the continued loosening of other aspects of COVID-19 lockdown won't be so sluggish and downright illogical as the city begins returning to normal in the coming weeks.
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