On May 6, the City relaxed some of its park regulations to give you and your family the ability to enjoy some of our parks’ green space, to get some fresh air, go for a stroll, get some exercise, or just sit back and relax on the grass, blanket, or your own lawn chair.
While we are seeing some positive trends in slowing the spread of the virus, we are still under the Province’s state-of-emergency orders. We cannot fully open our parks, but allowing some activities and access to our green space provides some welcome relief for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.
As this is a partial opening of City-owned parks, many of you have questions. We are hoping to answer some to help make things clearer.
Enclosed dog parks are closed. Does this mean I cannot bring my dog into any City park? Does it need to be leashed?
As part of the same Provincial Emergency Orders that prohibit the use of all park amenities and equipment, enclosed dog parks remain closed. This means that if the park is completely fenced-off, it cannot be used. However, you can walk your four-legged companion in a park’s green space, as long as you follow the park’s designation.
You can check the map to see your neighbourhood park’s designation. The map has four designations: “No dogs,” “Dogs on Leash,” “Dogs Allowed” (which means off-leash permitted) and “Mixed” (when the park has more than one designation – follow the signs).
Many parks have a designation requiring your dog to be on a leash. Some parks, like Heritage Park, have areas where dogs are allowed off-leash. While you can walk your dog off-leash in those parks, you must always have control of your dog to respect other park users and their pets. Whenever visiting a park with your dog, you must “scoop that poop” and take it home. Remember, you may now place dog waste in your green bin.
You can also check the National Capital Commission’s website for updates to parks that they oversee, such as Bruce Pit and Conroy Pit.
The green spaces in City-owned parks are open to the public, but what about beaches?
Like the green spaces in City parks, visitors can sit or walk on City-owned beaches. Please remember, beaches located in provincial parks remain closed under Ontario’s Emergency Orders.
While City-owned beaches and parks restrictions have been relaxed, you cannot launch any form of watercraft, including boats, canoes and kayaks, from a City park. Boat launches and docks remain closed as part of the overall closure of park amenities. Those same emergency orders also restrict any gatherings of more than five people, who are not part of your immediate household.
It’s important to note that even in normal times, it is never permitted to launch watercraft from beaches. The Parks and Facilities By-law prohibits watercraft from being launched in areas that are not specifically designated for launching watercraft.
Ottawa Public Health continues to advise that limiting activities to members of your own household remains an important requirement to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and that physical distancing of at least two metres from non-household members must be maintained.