By Sean Delaney
It’s challenging to keep up with all of the facilities that are open or closed in Emery. It has been a moving target, and announcements are coming at break neck speed. So as of printing time, and things will change, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto will open more than 850 park amenities now following the Province of Ontario’s amendments to an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The City of Toronto had closed all park amenities in March, based on public health advice and ahead of the provincial order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the city.
The City has moved quickly to open more than 70 off-leash dog parks across Toronto.
Park amenities scheduled to open in time for this upcoming weekend include picnic shelters, more than 300 soccer and multi-use outdoor fields, more than 300 baseball diamonds and 150 basketball courts.
Staff are also preparing more than 600 tennis courts at 185 locations. The reopening of park amenities will continue into next week, as staff work with Toronto Public Health to open lawn bowling facilities and outdoor bocce.
Permits for soccer, multi-use fields and baseball diamonds continue to be cancelled until June 29. Individuals may 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.
Individuals are not permitted to play team sports, such as soccer or baseball, even on fields intended for this purpose unless they are members of the same household.
Park amenities that continue to be closed include playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, swimming pools and splash pads. Greenhouses, nurseries and conservatories, High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm also remain closed. Waterfront parking lots will remain closed for the time being and High Park will continue to be closed to traffic on the weekends.
While visiting a park, people must continue to practice physical distancing. Signage is being installed at open park amenity areas to remind users of the importance of physical distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the safety and well-being of all residents. People must always stay two metres (six feet) apart while visiting the City’s parks. If a resident arrives at an amenity that is crowded, they are advised to wait until there is enough space to physically distance or return at another time.