COVID-19 : Get the latest updates on Ontario Parks and COVID-19.

COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Question:

    What’s open and what’s closed at Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    The following is a list of what recreational activities and facilities will be opening soon at provincial parks in regions as we enter Stage 2 of reopening the province:

    Here is what is open now:
    • most backcountry camping
    • most campground camping
    • most seasonal camping programs
    • most roofed accommodations
    • most washrooms facilities
    • day use areas
    • beaches, as maintenance and water testing are completed
    • trails
    • boat launches
    • paddling
    • drinking water
    • trailer sanitation stations
    • off-leash pet areas
    • some park stores
    • some rentals

    Here is what is not available yet:
    • playgrounds/sports fields
    • visitor centres

    Here is what will not be available for this season:
    • showers
    • laundry facilities
    • group camping
    • picnic shelter rentals
    • Swimming pools

    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority. We will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks.

    This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations. You may notice that day use parking areas will not be as full, or some campsites will remain empty during your stay.

    Ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations. Additionally, these areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies.

    As more activities and facilities begin to open over the next few weeks, we encourage visitors to click on the “Parks” drop down menu to view the Facilities and Activities icons to see what’s available at the park you wish to visit.

  • Question:

    How do I know what facilities or activities are available at the operating provincial park I wish to visit?

  • Answer:
    To find out what is available at the park you wish to visit please click on the “Parks” drop down menu at www.ontarioparks.com to view the Facilities and Activities icons.

  • Question:

    Can I still apply for a seasonal campsite this season? How were campers selected for the 2020 camping program?

  • Answer:
    No, applications for the 2020 season were only accepted between September 1 to September 30, 2019. Successful applicants were notified after September 30, 2019.

  • Question:

    Why won’t showers or laundry facilities be open this season?

  • Answer:
    The health and well-being of visitors and staff will always be our number one priority as we decide how and when to open parks, facilities and services. At this time, Ontario Parks is unable guarantee the required level of cleanliness and disinfection of showers or laundry facilities. Our efforts will be focused on ensuring washrooms and high traffic public areas are thoroughly cleaned and maintained. For more information on protocols for camping without showers read our blog article, what to do when showers are closed.

  • Question:

    Why isn’t the day use fee reduced if not all facilities and services are open yet?

  • Answer:
    All fees collected go directly back to supporting the operation and maintenance of provincial parks. We are actively working as quickly as we can to offer as many facilities and services as possible.

  • Question:

    Do I need a reservation to go camping in Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks is strongly recommending that visitors make advanced reservations to limit contact during transactions and campsites may be limited and not guaranteed upon arrival without a reservation.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com, or
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 363 days a year

  • Question:

    How do I check in for my camping reservation?

  • Answer:
    All reservation holders will receive a reminder email seven days in advance of their arrival that will provide direction for the check-in process.

  • Question:

    What do I need to keep with me as proof of registration when I am using the backcountry?

  • Answer:
    Campers who are able to reserve and register online are responsible for having an electronic or printed copy of their permit with them when in the park. A copy of the vehicle permit must be displayed on the dash of your vehicle when parked within a designated areas of an operating provincial park.

  • Question:

    Are there any restrictions for campground or backcountry camping due to Ontario’s current restrictions? What are the rules for camping?

  • Answer:
    No more than six people can occupy a campground camping site, and no more than nine people at a backcountry campsite with the exception of six people in backcountry campsite at Bon Echo, Charleston Lake, Frontenac and Killarney hiking trail.

    All other rules for camping apply. Please visit Reservation Rules for more information.

  • Question:

    I already cancelled my reservation. Now that camping is allowed, can I keep that reservation?

  • Answer:
    No. Unfortunately, once a reservation has been cancelled it cannot be reinstated. You will need to make a new reservation either online reservations.ontarioparks.com or by contacting the Ontario Parks Reservations Call Centre at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • Question:

    I have a reservation in June and early July for a roofed accommodation, is my reservation going to be cancelled?

  • Answer:
    Reservations for arrivals up to and including July 6 for roofed accommodations will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty. There is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund.

    Please allow up to ten business days for your refund to appear on your credit card statement. Please check directly with the park regarding any existing reservations.

  • Question:

    I have a reservation for group camping, is my reservation going to be cancelled?

  • Answer:
    Yes. To reduce overcrowding and promote physical distancing, group camping will not be available for reservation this season. We will be extending the closure of group camping until September 7, 2020. Reservations for arrivals up to and including the extended closure date for group camping will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty.

    There is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund. Please allow up to ten business days for your refund to appear on your credit card statement. Please check directly with the park regarding any existing reservations.

  • Question:

    Can I make a change to my reservation without incurring a change fee?

  • Answer:
    Yes, Ontario Parks is offering free changes to your 2020 reservations, depending on availability. If another date or location is unavailable, Ontario Parks is offering penalty-free cancellations.

    If you wish to make a change to your reservation online, please log in to your reservation account at reservations.ontarioparks.com.

  • Question:

    Can I make a future reservation for the 2020 camping season?

  • Answer:
    Yes, however, Ontario Parks will continue to monitor reservation bookings and may need to limit the number of reservations available. Please be aware that we will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our buildings and during busy visitation times.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com,
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

  • Question:

    Will my picnic shelter reservation be cancelled?

  • Answer:
    Yes. To reduce overcrowding and promote physical distancing, picnic shelters will not be available for reservation this season. Reservations for picnic shelters arriving up to and including September 7, 2020 will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty.

    There is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund. Please allow up to ten business days for your refund to appear on your credit card statement. Please check directly with the park regarding any existing reservations.

  • Question:

    What’s the difference between a non-operating park and an operating park?

  • Answer:
    Non-operating provincial parks offer limited recreational experiences, fewer facilities and generally no dedicated staff or fee collection. Operating parks offer a variety of services and facilities, such as campground camping, roofed accommodations, washrooms, and discovery programs and charge fees.

    Please visit the Park Locator page at Park Locator to find a provincial park near you.

  • Question:

    Can we visit with our friends on their campsite?

  • Answer:
    Only six people can stay on a single campsite, but you’re welcome to gather for a campfire. Please follow provincial guidelines around social distancing and group size: www.ontario.ca/page/framework-reopening-our-province-stage-2#section-1.

  • Question:

    How you plan to handle physical distancing in the bathrooms?

  • Answer:
    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Occupancy restrictions may be posted on comfort stations to limit the number of people permitted to enter the building at one time.

  • Question:

    What precautions will be put in place to keep your public washrooms clean?

  • Answer:
    Priority for cleaning and disinfection is placed on high-touch surfaces in public areas including washrooms and other shared facilities. These areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day at a minimum or more in higher use areas.

  • Question:

    How are you improving cleaning processes for Roofed Accommodations during COVID-19?

  • Answer:
    We are implementing appropriate cleaning procedures in our roofed accommodation units including priority for cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

    To accommodate these changes, check-in/ check-out times may be modified, and some amenities may not be available (e.g., kettles, dishes and linens) at some provincial parks. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Why are some Roofed Accommodations not opening?

  • Answer:
    We will be implementing measures to ensure sufficient time for cleaning procedures during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for roofed accommodations in select provincial parks.

  • Question:

    Are there any changes to the check-in Procedures for Roofed Accommodations?

  • Answer:
    Check-in / check-out times may be modified to accommodate cleaning procedures. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Can I bring my pet with me to stay in roofed accommodation?

  • Answer:
    Yes, pet friendly accommodations will be available this season.

  • Question:

    Why are you suspending sales through the Ontario Parks Online Store?

  • Answer:
    Due to the temporary closure of all Ontario Parks offices, ministry staff currently do not have access to the product inventory of seasonal permits, maps and physical gift cards to fulfill the orders.

    Printable eGift cards will continue to be available through the Online Store.

    In order to keep Ontarians safe, our government is working to slowly phase-in the opening of Ontario Parks — taking a gradual approach to the introduction of activities and services that prioritizes the health of visitors and staff.

  • Question:

    What if I placed an online order for a Seasonal Day Use Vehicle Permit, paddle route map or gift card and I haven’t received it yet?

  • Answer:
    If you purchased a 2020 Summer or 2020/21 Annual vehicle permit, paddle route map or gift cards through the Ontario Parks Online Store and have not received your order, you will receive an email with more information. Customers will have two options:

    • Cancel your order for a full refund that will be provided automatically or;

    • Have the order shipped to you once Ontario Parks resumes regular operations.



  • Question:

    Can I return my 2020 Seasonal Day Use Vehicle Permit for a full refund?

  • Answer:
    Yes. We are offering full refunds for a 2020 Summer or 2020/2021 Annual day use vehicle permit up to July 26, 2020.

    You can return your permit by mail. Please follow the instructions for submitting a refund request form and mail your seasonal permit and the completed refund request form to:

    Ontario Parks Revenue Administration Office
    Refund Request
    P.O. Box 2178
    Orillia, Ontario
    L2V 6S1

    Please allow 4 to 6 weeks to process the refund after Ontario Parks resumes regular operations.

    If you have any questions regarding your order or the status of your refund, please reach out to us via our contact page, select Online Store purchase as the topic.

    Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information and park opening dates.

  • Question:

    Why will it take 4-6 weeks after Ontario Parks resumes full operations to process my refund?

  • Answer:
    Due to the high volume of refunds, please allow longer than normal time to process the refunds. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.

  • Question:

    How long will you extend my permit due to the closure?

  • Answer:
    For visitors who have purchased and received either a 2020 Summer or 2020/21 Annual Seasonal Vehicle Permit, Ontario Parks will extend the expiry date of the seasonal vehicle permit for the full length of the park closure period. When parks are fully operational, the extension will begin to apply.

    That means for each month Ontario Parks is not fully operational, a full month will be added to the end date of the Summer and Annual Seasonal Vehicle Permit. No further action is required; this will be applied automatically.

  • Question:

    The government just announced that parks will begin to slowly open. Will the online store still be closed?

  • Answer:
    Yes, the store remains closed.

    Additionally, due to the temporary closure of all Ontario Parks offices, ministry staff currently do not have access to the product inventory of seasonal permits, maps and physical gift cards to fulfill the orders.

    In order to keep Ontarians safe, our government is working to slowly phase-in the opening of Ontario Parks — taking a gradual approach to the introduction of activities and services that prioritizes the health of visitors and staff.

    During the COVID-19 outbreak, we will be continually assessing our approach and may need to make adjustments to services depending on the advice of health experts.

  • Question:

    Does the newly announced “limited recreational day use” count towards the extended expiry date period?

  • Answer:
    No, the access to provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited recreational day-use activities is not part of the extended expiry period. When parks are fully operational, the extension will begin to apply.