when will campgrounds open in ontario

This is when campgrounds are expected to open in Ontario

Now that sun and double-digit weather seems to be here to stay, many residents of Ontario are wondering: when will campgrounds open up?

With the usual entertainment options of bars, restaurants, movie theatres, concert venues and clubs closed up for the foreseeable future, getting into the great outdoors is one of the few activities we can still look forward to, even as things do start to slowly open up across the province.

Thankfully, it looks like camping might still be in the cards this summer, and citizens are eager to go.

Camping on Crown land, which is free of charge, is unfortunately still banned due to the pandemic, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared the news that parts of some national parks will be open for visitors again as soon as June 1, depending on factors such as the restrictions still in place in the province they're located in.

But, it seems like overnight camping facilities in particular at these parks will not be open until at least June 21, though Parks Canada will be continually assessing when and how these services might resume depending on the status of the health crisis.

In Ontario specifically, all provincial parks and conservation reserves have already been open for select activities for more than a week, along with the newly-reopened private parks, boat launches, marinas, golf courses, sports courts, off-leash dog parks, horse riding facilities and other outdoor amenities.

People looking to camp overnight in the province can now make future reservations for private campsites, but these may have to be cancelled, depending on where the province is at when the time rolls around.

For now, campgrounds have only been allowed to resume some of their operations, including prepping for the season in anticipation of opening soon. Also, anyone with a full season contract for their trailer or recreational vehicle can now return.

At the moment, campers can enjoy daytime activities but are not yet able to pitch a tent overnight, and a date for when they may do so has yet to be announced — but Ontario Parks says they will "gradually increase the recreational opportunities we offer, including camping" over the coming weeks and that the current ban on camping is only until May 31.

Washrooms, water taps and other camping facilities provided in both provincial and national parks in Ontario are still off-limits, though camping activities like sports on lakes and outdoor bodies of water are permitted under Stage 1 of the province's reopening plan. Public beaches, though, remain closed.

As we are already multiple days into Stage 1 of the framework for reopening Ontario's economy, the opening of campgrounds may be mere weeks away; each stage is due to be about two-to-four weeks long, and Stage 2 entails opening more workplaces and outdoor spaces, and permitting larger social gatherings.

So, if all goes well with Ontario's case numbers and there are no dramatic spikes, we could potentially be out camping (and catching up to the provinces who are starting earlier) well before our few short months of summer weather are over.

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