wasaga beach

Wasaga Beach really doesn't want you to visit

A small summer party town north of Toronto known for its gorgeous freshwater beaches is asking us big city folk to stay away right now due to public health concerns.

Wasaga Beach, which is said to attract some two million visitors each summer, has closed all of its municipal parking lots to tourists for the time being in an effort to "discourage day trip visitors from accessing the area during the pandemic."

"Thinking of a day trip to Wasaga Beach?" reads a message posted to the town of just over 20,000 people's Twitter account Tuesday.

"Wasaga Beach Provincial Park's beachfront is closed and so are most of our municipal parking lots near the main beach area. Please stay home."

Two public parking lots along the town's famously long network of beaches will remain open for the season, but only to residents with municipal parking passes.

Five privately operate lots with a total of 185 parking spots along the beachfront will also remain open, according to the town, though "owners of these lots determine the fees they charge" and no cap has been set on their rates.

"Since the arrival of warmer weather, we have seen day-trippers visit our community, congregating near the beachfront in larger gatherings, against provincial emergency orders in place due to the pandemic, and gathering on the beach itself, which is closed by provincial order," said Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bifolchi in a statement announcing the move.

"This type of activity is unacceptable and against the law."

Bifolchi said the lots will be closed starting June 5 to "reinforce the intent of the provincial orders and to support OPP officers, Ontario Parks’ staff, and municipal law enforcement officers."

She also praised locals for doing their part to stay off the closed beach, which is part of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, and avoiding mass gatherings for the most part.

Residents of the town will thus get to experience a significantly quieter, less touristy beach atmosphere this season, at least until Ontario's state of emergency has been called off.

"Our residents deserve to enjoy the area they live in as long as they continue to follow all of the directives," said Bifolchi. "All of our other lots in town remain open for use as per the posted rates and for parking pass holders."

Lead photo by

Steve Nicholson

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