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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Outdoor destinations and attractions all over Ontario are closing because of crowds

People in Ontario have been more outdoorsy than usual lately, flocking to attractions like beaches, conservation areas and green spaces and not exactly social distancing while they do so.

Though it's lovely that people are enjoying the great outdoors, townships are having such problems with overcrowding at some of their amenities as of late that they've actually had to shut things down again.

Day trip destinations like Prince Edward County and Wasaga Beach, both a short drive from Toronto, have politely asked out-of-towners to stay home during peak times like weekends, while beach areas at both have had to turn visitors (many of whom have waited hours in car lineups) away because of capacity issues.

And now other Ontario locales are having to do the same.

The province along with the City of St. Catharines have barred access to Morningstar Mill, a site popular for its historic buildings and access to trails and scenic waterfalls, after several people had to be rescued in recent days.

The city also stated in a press release that people have not been heeding COVID-19 health and safety measures like gathering limits while visiting, and it has closed beaches to non-locals for the same reason.

"Since we opened our beaches earlier this summer we have faced a situation where they are overcrowded and under pressure. As we continue under emergency orders, by temporarily limiting access to Niagara residents only we can help limit the risk of spreading COVID-19 in our community," Mayor Walter Sendzik said in a statement this week.

Security will be patrolling both locations, at the former to keep an eye out for any trespassers, and at the latter to ID beachgoers to make sure they actually live in the area. Parking fines have also been increased significantly.

Meanwhile in the more rural municipality of Trent Hills — about two hours east of Toronto — multiple sites have had to close for the remainder of the season.

The township announced that both the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge and Crowe Bridge Park, popular with nature lovers who come to the area for hiking and camping, are closing down due to "overwhelming crowds and reports of reckless behaviour," along with illegal road parking. Barricades will be installed to prevent entry.

"We have tried public education, signage and staffing the gate but no matter how many resources we throw at the issue, it isn’t working," the town's mayor said in a statement.

"We understand that these are difficult times and people are looking for a break, but this small area just can’t handle the volume of people so we have to think about public health and close it.”

So if, like many citydwellers, you are limited to the confines of a small apartment with no outdoor space, you may just have to resort to one of Toronto's overrun beachesbustling park parties or expanded bar patios to get a much-needed taste of some fresh air and green space.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

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