Corp Comm Connects

Vaughan shuts outdoor skating rinks, toboggan hill, dog park to curb COVID-19

Toronto and Mississauga both keeping these amenities open
Jan. 18, 2021
Jenny Yuen

A day following the province’s Stay-At Home order coming into effect, the City of Vaughan shut down outdoor skating rinks, toboggan hills and dog parks as of Friday morning as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Toronto and Mississauga, however, have both decided to keep these amenities open.

“This is the most recent step taken to protect the health and safety of citizens and staff,” the City of Vaughan said in a statement.

Vaughan’s closures will impact the skating rinks at Chancellor Community Centre, Dufferin Clark Community Centre, Father E. Bulfon Community Centre, Garnet A. Williams Community Centre and Vellore Village Community Centre.

The toboggan hill at North Maple Regional Park and the dog park at 299 Racco Pkwy. are also affected.

The city said this decision was based on Vaughan-specific data and “reflect guidance issued by York Region Public Health and the provincial government.”

On Friday, 250 new COVID cases were reported in York Region.

Vaughan is the first GTA municipality to close city-run outdoor facilities amidst the more stringent provincial order issued earlier this week.

As part of the Stay-At-Home order, people are required to stay home unless they’re going out for groceries, medication, pet food or exercise, a few examples in the list of 33 exemptions.

Meanwhile, amenities such as outdoor playgrounds, dog parks and skating rinks in both Toronto and Mississauga remain open, with some restrictions.

“Under the new provincial regulations, (Toronto) outdoor skating rinks are permitted to remain open for 25 people at a time. At the advice of Toronto Public Health, the city now requires masks or face coverings while on and off the ice and while waiting in line,” City of Toronto said in a statement Thursday.

“The City’s two ski hills, Centennial Park and Earl Bales Park, remain closed in accordance with the province’s Lockdown Regulation first introduced last month.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory told CP24 Friday playgrounds are allowed to stay open based on medical advice the city received.

“Originally, way back in the early stages, it was thought maybe this virus could be transmitted from playground equipment but it was decided that was a very low risk,” the mayor said.

“Frankly, being outside is lower risk than being inside because of the ventilation provided by fresh air, so what we have decided to do is to leave the parks open, but we have made it very clear to people, as the premier has, as I have, that you need to keep your distance.”