Ontario Parks expanding day-use activities, backcountry camping to be allowed

Province also gives the green light for existing outdoor drive-in movie theatres to reopen Sunday

People itching for a taste of the wild will be allowed to go backcountry camping at Ontario Parks and on Crown Lands starting Monday (June 1). This will include access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails.

Ontario Parks will also be expanding day-use activities to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas.

We are all eager to get outside this time of year, and backcountry camping will give people a low-risk way to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors while following physical distancing rules,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks and continue to follow all of the public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Following current restrictions, no more than five people will be allowed to occupy a backcountry campsite during their stay, unless they live in the same household.

The closure of all other overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves has been extended until June 14 and will continue to be reassessed. All buildings and facilities including campgrounds, roof accommodations, visitor centres, park stores and playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. Some washroom facilities may be available.

Ontario Parks will begin collecting fees for day-use and backcountry camping access as of Monday.

As well, you can plan a night at the movies under the stars.

The province will allow drive-in theatres and batting cages to resume business on Sunday.

The government said washrooms at drive-ins will be allowed to operate as long as health and safety requirements are followed.

Banner image courtesy OntarioParks.com