School has ended and summer is officially here. Because of COVID-19, this summer doesn’t look like past summers—social distancing is extremely important, most camps are operating at a diminished capacity, and masks are the biggest accessory of the season.
As Ontario continues to reopen and the entire GTA moves into Phase 2, more and more attractions are opening. Malls, art galleries, museums, and more are reopening their doors with additional safety measures in place.
As we all know, just because things are opening up doesn’t mean the risk of the virus is behind us. All of us need to take steps within our families to ensure our safety—wash your hands regularly, stay 6 feet apart from people, wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible, and keep hand sanitizer on your person for times when hand washing isn’t possible.
That being said, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite places you can go as a family while still practicing social distancing.
The Toronto Zoo has been offering its scenic safari program for a few weeks now. It’s a great way to enjoy the zoo from the safety of your car.
But as we move into Phase 2, the zoo will be opening its doors with a few new measures in place. Tickets will be timed to ensure entry is staggered, there are new one-way trails to help maintain social distance, and masks are required to be worn in any of the pavilions and buildings that are currently open.
Members can start booking timed tickets as of June 27.
Another summer staple, strawberry picking, is a great way to get the kids outdoors and having fun all while maintaining social distance.
All of the farms have put measures in place to ensure the safety of their staff and visitors. Some have opted for individual strawberry aisles, while others have created assigned areas. Most farms now require an online booking beforehand and are monitoring entry and exits to keep numbers within the provincial limits.
These farms are all offering socially distanced strawberry picking in the GTA.
While movie theatres are still closed, a classic favourite is back on the scene as the safest way to see a movie as a family this summer—the drive-in! It’s a fun way to spend a warm summer night and if you’re anything like me, it will be a nostalgic experience to boot!
Bring your own snacks, blankets, pillows, and whatever else you need to enjoy a movie from the safety of your car. Bathrooms will be available, but it is important to wear a mask when indoors, follow all directions given by the establishment, and properly wash and sanitize your hands.
Visit a Provincial Park
There are 340 provincial parks in Ontario and some great ones just a short distance from Toronto. Provincial parks are a great place to get outdoors with the family this summer—they are usually much bigger than your local community park meaning there is more space to keep safe!
You can enjoy hiking, biking, beaches, and even all three in one place depending on your park!
Before you head out to any park, be sure to check out their website to see what special measures are in place due to COVID-19. Here are four of our favourite parks that are a short drive from the city, plus one that is a bit of a trek but well worth it!
- Sandbanks Provincial Park
- Darlington Provincial Park
- Presqu’ile Provincial Park
- Springwater Provincial Park
- Bruce Peninsula
If you thought farmer’s markets were a thing of the past, think again. Because they are more often than not held outside in larger areas, it makes it much easier to social distance while shopping for your local produce.
While not all farmer’s markets are opening for the 2020 summer season, some across the GTA have been able to adapt to the COVID-19 restrictions and reopen safely.
- Evergreen Brickworks Farmer’s Market
- St. Lawrence Market Outdoor Market
- Leslieville Summer Market
- Withrow Market
Do your kids love Jurassic Park? Do you love Jurassic Park? Then heading over to the Drive-Thru Dinosaur Park in Indian River is going to be a can’t miss experience this summer.
Just a 1.75-hour drive from Toronto, you can stay in the safety of your car as you tour around the reptile park looking for dinosaurs. Keep your eyes peeled for the T-Rex and if you’re lucky you might even spot a Spinosaurus.
Centre Island is opening in a limited capacity. While you won’t be able to take the kids on any rides, as of June 27, their food and drink stands will be open for take-out and patio service.
You can grab a meal and enjoy the island safely with your family. You can also hop aboard a Pirate Life ship starting on July 1st. They are limiting groups to 10 people and require all their staff and guests to wear face coverings.
As of June 23, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures will be open to the public. They will be monitoring how many people enter the park and closing the gates when they reach capacity so be sure to get there early. They also will not be accepting cash payments so be sure to have your debit or credit card with you.