Making our Parks Safe for Physical Distancing

Getting outside and enjoying the warm weather is important for our physical and mental health. But to keep everyone safe, we need to ensure appropriate measures are in place.

Last Saturday, we saw overcrowding and behaviour at Trinity Bellwoods Park that violated physical distancing directives and put people at risk. Going forward, we are adopting new measures to ensure that everyone can enjoy our parks and outdoor spaces safely. 

Beginning this morning, white circles are being painted on the grass throughout Trinity Bellwoods park, to instruct physical distancing. The circles are being painted 10 to 12 feet apart. This is a pilot initiative, and if it’s successful, will be expanded to other parks and greenspaces across the city. Park washrooms in Trinity Bellwoods will also open this weekend, with a two-week phased approach to open washrooms in other parks throughout the city. 

In addition, we'll have increased by-law officers present, with city staff providing education and in case of non-compliance, fines. Officers will be stationed at entrances and throughout the park. They will also be instructing park users that drinking alcohol is not currently permitted in the park. 

In all city parks and green spaces, any two people who don't live together and fail to keep two metres of distance are contravening municipal and provincial directions, and can be fined. Also, the province’s Emergency Order bans any social gathering of more than five people who aren't in same household.

The City is also taking action to limit crowding at parks along the waterfront, including Sir Casimir Gzowski and Sunnyside Park, Humber Bay Park East and West, and Woodbine Beach, through increased bylaw enforcement officers, and the continued closure of parking lots. 

I want to note that many other downtown parks, including Stanley Park, Bickford Park, Christie Pits and Dufferin Grove did not experience the same overcrowding as Trinity Bellwoods this past weekend. While there are many parks across downtown Toronto that have space for people to exercise and relax while maintaining physical distance, I'm working to open up additional roads for cyclists and pedestrians, and to build new parks and public spaces for all.