What’s Open for Families During Stage 2 in Ontario This Summer

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Zoos and aquariums can open in Stage 2 (photo: Ripley's Aquarium of Canada)

Nearly all of Ontario, apart from the Windsor area, has now moved to Stage 2. What does this mean in terms of how your summer will look? Yes, you can get a haircut (finally!), but beyond that, here is what you can expect for kids and families as more services and attractions open up around the province. Find more at the provincial government’s Reopening Ontario webpage.

First, This Is Not Business As Usual

Do some homework before you visit these attractions to find out about their physical distancing measures and safety requirements. For instance:

  • reservations and timed-entry tickets may be required
  • visitors may be required to wear face masks
  • food and beverage sales may not be available
  • some parts of the attractions may remain closed
  • stroller rentals may be unavailable

Gatherings are still limited to 10 people not in the same household throughout Ontario.

Museum and Galleries

Museums and galleries may open “subject to conditions”. As of this writing, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has announced it will reopen July 2 for members and annual pass holders, then to the general public on July 23. The ROM will open on July 11. Other major museums remain closed and have not announced reopening dates, though national museums in Ottawa and Gatineau have suggested late summer or early fall reopening.

Zoos and Aquariums

Among the larger attractions, Ripley’s Aquarium will open on June 26, the Toronto Zoo is opening June 27 (members only), Safari Niagara opened on June 23. Other animal attractions that are open include Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo locations in Hamilton and Ottawa (private tours only), Jungle Cat World in Clarington, Papanack Zoo near Ottawa, and drive-through attractions at African Lion Safari near Hamilton and Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park near Peterborough.

Swimming Pools

Stage 2 allows the reopening of public pools—indoor and outdoor. The City of Toronto has announced the opening of 56 swimming pools (approximately half of all city pools) by June 27. The City of Ottawa is “working to reopen indoor and outdoor pools” but has not announced dates at this writing. Not open in Stage 2: water parks and wave pools.

Splash Pads and Wading Pools

In Stage 2, splash pads and wading pools may reopen. Splash pads opened in Ottawa as of June 18. In Toronto, all city splash pads will open on June 27 and wading pools will begin opening on a location-by-location basis on July 1.

Outdoor Recreational Facilities

This is limited to “low-contact attractions and activities”, including mini-golf, paintball, and ziplining and outdoor adventure parks, including some Treetop Trekking locations. Not open in stage 2: amusement parks, playgrounds and play structures.

Libraries

You likely will not see the return of free, in-library programming this summer, but a least you can stock up on some reading material. Libraries in most municipalities will be open for curbside hold pickup and returns.

Drive-In Movie Theatres

You may have to embark on a road trip to see a drive-in movie this summer since only a handful still exist in Ontario, but what is summer vacation for if not road trips, right?

Camping

Most provincial parks and private campgrounds are open for RV and car camping (latest openings are July 10), with physical distancing restrictions. Ontario Parks has a lengthy list of facilities within its parks that will remain closed, including visitor centres, playgrounds and sports fields, yurts and cabins, park stores, equipment rentals, laundry facilities, swimming pools, and showers.

Regional Resources

Find more information about Stage 2 reopening plans in your area:

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