Planned City of Toronto holiday camps and instructional programs cancelled due to COVID-19

The City of Toronto is cancelling all planned 2020 holiday CampTO camps and winter instructional programs, including Learn-to-Skate and Instructional Ski, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 as Toronto’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise. This decision follows recommendations from Toronto Public Health and the City’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa while Toronto remains in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.

The City’s holiday camps were scheduled to run at 30 locations beginning December 21 to align with the winter school break. Approximately 706 participants had registered this year for City holiday camps. This year, there were close to 441 registrations for Learn-to-Skate programs and 4,919 instructional ski spaces. Registration for instructional ski spaces had not yet occurred. The City is issuing refunds automatically to all current camp and Learn-to-Skate registrants. While registrants do not need to request a refund, they can contact [email protected] with any questions.

Earlier this year, CampTO programs provided Toronto children with a high-quality summer camp experience, inclusive of traditional camp activities, that incorporated public health measures designed to reduce the risk of virus spread, including physical distancing, smaller group sizes, daily health assessments and more extensive cleaning and hygiene measures. While CampTO operated safely and successfully over the summer with these measures in place, Toronto’s overall COVID-19 case numbers and daily case counts are much higher now.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has remained committed to providing Torontonians with safe opportunities for recreation and prioritized access to the City’s parks and green spaces. This winter, residents can continue to take part in a range of outdoor activities with members of their household in the City’s many parks and green spaces. A complete list of activities is available at https://www.toronto.ca/welcome-to-winter/. The cancellation of holiday camps and instructional programming does not impact leisure and drop-in opportunities at the City’s outdoor artificial ice rinks and other outdoor parks amenities that are permitted to remain open while Toronto is in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.

The City is reviewing operations of its Centennial Park and Earle Bales Park ski and snowboard centres, decisions to open the ski hills and offer leisure ski and snowboarding will be made following recommendations from Toronto Public Health. Decisions to offer winter recreation registration as well as winter recreation and fitness programming are contingent upon Provincial orders. More information will be shared closer to January.

All Toronto residents should be adopting steps for self-protection. Everyone should only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, school and fresh air and exercise. As much as possible, residents are asked to limit contact to people in the same household, keep at least six feet apart from people not in the same household and wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult. Residents should wash hands frequently and remain at home when ill.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check https://www.toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.

Quotes:

“At this critical time, we must continue to follow public health advice. With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Toronto the advice has been clear, we need to stay home as much as possible and take steps for self-protection. It is deeply regrettable that we cannot offer holiday camp and instructional programming for kids this year, but the City is committed to taking action to stop the spread of COVID-19."

– Mayor John Tory

“Camps are an important component to healthy childcare, and we are taking every step we can to get kids safely back to school following the winter school break. We know that childcare continues to be an essential component to our recovery from the pandemic, and the City is committed to offering parents and children safe opportunities for camp, recreation and instructional programs as soon as it is safe to do so.”

– Councillor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“The City of Toronto’s camps have long been safe and enjoyable for kids and staff alike. Camp provides positive social interactions, childhood development and youth employment. We were pleased to offer CampTO programing over the summer as we know these programs are especially important for vulnerable kids. While we recognize the benefit of providing Toronto children with access to local camps, we cannot lose sight of their safety. With COVID-19 cases in Toronto continuing to rise, we need everyone including our children to stay home as much as possible over the winter school break.” – Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health

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