We get it. These past few weeks have been tough. We've been asked to stay inside, away from our friends and family to avoid human contact as much as possible in the hopes of easing the spread of COVID-19.
We understand why, of course, and that our actions right now will help save the lives of others. Perhaps the life of a grandparent or even a friend. And while this is our moment to step up and listen to the directions of Canada's top doctors, it's not easy having to stay inside and watch every beautiful spring day pass us by.
We are, of course, still able to go outside and get fresh air when we need to, we just need to make sure we're doing it correctly.
Over the past few days, spring has made quite the appearance in Toronto, bringing sunshine and warm temperatures to the city. As you can imagine, residents have flocked to beaches, public spaces, and sports fields in groups, completely disregarding the fact that both local and provincial governments have closed them to the public, not to mention that gathering in groups of more than five people is now prohibited.
Mayor John Tory said people are ripping down the tape City officials have put across park amenities so that they can still access them, while City spokesperson Brad Ross says others are removing barricades and signs set up at parking lots to gain entry into beaches, effectively ignoring “the very serious efforts being made by all to halt the spread of COVID-19.”
But rather than risking getting a fine for visiting one of the public spaces that are closed or walking along the waterfront where it's obviously going to be busier, you should consider visiting one of the city's lesser-known parks, on your own, of course.
There are currently over 1,500 parks open in Toronto, which means you literally have hundreds of options for places to stretch your legs, without risking being close to other people.
So, the next time you want to walk, cycle, or run, we recommend checking out the City's interactive parks map that lets you find parks closest to you.
Far too many people continue to visit 'hotspots' in the city in groups, including Toronto parks like Trinity Bellwoods and Sunnyside Beach, which has prompted Mayor Tory to sign a By-law mandating a physical distance of 2 metres between people in parks and public squares unless they live together. Anyone found in violation could be fined $5,000.
For those who do choose to visit a park to cycle or walk, Tory says it's fine as long as you stay away from other people. "We’re not saying don’t go to the park, but its best to stay home if you can."
So remember, you can still enjoy the beautiful spring weather, just do so at least 2 metres away from everyone else.