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Ontario travel restrictions: Where you can go in May 2021

Going a bit stir crazy? Find out where you can go and what you can do in Ontario right now.

Ontarians are known for loving the great outdoors but getting out in nature is proving to be even more popular right now. With public health guidelines advising us to stay home as much as possible, visiting a local park or reserve is a safe way to spend time outdoors, exercise and get some fresh air.

There are currently five different colour-coded public health zones depending on what region of Ontario you are in. Toronto, for example, is in a lockdown zone where the strictest measures apply allowing parks and outdoor recreational areas to be visited while following physical distancing measures.

Here’s what you need to know to get out and about right now, including Ontario’s travel restrictions for accommodation, transportation and attractions.

Accommodation in Ontario

While overnight recreational stays are allowed, Ontarians are encouraged to stay close to home where possible and avoid non-essential travel. When out and about, you can travel with members of your household while maintaining a physical distance of two metres with others.

Staying with family or friends

You are encouraged to limit close contact to members of your household only, and in the strictest zones, it is illegal to gather indoors with those you don’t live with.

Staying at hotels

Hotels and motels are open with restrictions in place. Safety precautions in the grey-lockdown zone include closures to pools, fitness centres and meeting rooms while other zones have more relaxed rules.

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Staying in a holiday home or cottage

Rentals for holiday homes and cottages in areas not in the grey-lockdown zone have reopened for guests who are not travelling from lockdown zones. Gathering limits apply, so you’ll need to limit close contact to your household only.

Staying at hostels

Hostels are allowed to be open and accept guests. You should expect enhanced safety and hygiene measures during your stay, which may include reduced capacity in shared dorms, increased contactless check-in options and sanitization stations for guests.

Camping and caravanning

Many of Ontario’s parks and campgrounds are permitted to reopen for recreational activities and camping. This includes popular sites such as Arrowhead Provincial Park, Frontenac Provincial Park, MacGregor Point Provincial Park, Mew Lake and Valens Lake Conservation Area.

National park reservations for trips from May 2021 to March 2022 will be open in April (instead of January as usual) with a limited number of winter camping sites currently open.

Eager campers are requested to only visit provincial parks or conservation areas close to home. You’ll also need to practice physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others and wearing a face covering when entering indoor public spaces or when physical distancing may be a challenge.

Camping and daily vehicle permits may be limited so a reservation is recommended to make sure you don’t miss out. Overnight stays in a provincial park located within a grey-lockdown zone are closed so make sure to check the status of your region before visiting.

Tourist attractions in Ontario

Tourist attraction openings are currently determined by the colour-coded system. Most attractions that are open are outdoors or where visitors can easily practice physical distancing.

In the strictest zone, the grey-lockdown zone, indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities are closed while outdoor ski, ice and snow recreational amenities are open for recreational purposes. Attractions outside of the grey zone may be open with limited capacity and safety protocols.

Popular attractions that are currently open include the following:

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National parks

Some of Ontario’s national parks are open to the public. Visitors can access some day-use areas, trails and green spaces while in-person interpretation, events and group activities are suspended and some facilities may not be available.

Some trails have been designated as one-way trails to encourage physical distancing so make sure to pay attention to signage on your visit.

The following parks are currently open:

  • Bruce Peninsula National Park
  • Point Pelee National Park

Beaches and local parks

Many of the usual facilities and services are open to visitors, but you may notice some modifications or restrictions on your visit. To limit contact during transactions, you may have to make reservations in advance.

Ministry officers, local police and other enforcement agencies will be present in provincial parks to enforce park rules and regulations, to provide information and to assist with emergencies.

The following parks are currently open:

  • Algonquin Park
  • Bronte Creek Provincial Park
  • Forks of the Credit Provincial Park
  • Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
  • Killarney Provincial Park
  • Pinery Provincial Park
  • Presqu’ile Provincial Park
  • Quetico Provincial Park
  • Sauble Beach
  • Wasaga Beach

Getting to and from your holiday

Driving within Ontario

Trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons, which include exercise and physical activity. This especially applies between the different public health measure zones.

Flights within Ontario

Flights around Ontario are operating as usual, but Ontarians are advised to travel only for essential reasons. Travellers will need to follow physical distancing and gathering restrictions and wear a face covering while travelling by air.

Flights to Ontario

While flights are currently operating, only essential travel to Ontario is currently recommended and visitors are advised to self-isolate for 14-days on arrival.

Coach, bus and rail services

While most services are operating as usual, you will likely notice a change to the experience. Face coverings are mandatory for all travel and many companies are now enforcing physical distancing measures while boarding and onboard.

On rail services, passengers may not be allowed to move from car to car and should arrive earlier than usual to allow for health screening questions.

  • Coach Canada. Operating as usual.
  • GO Transit. Operating as usual.
  • Greyhound. Services to and within Ontario are suspended.
  • Megabus. Operating as usual.
  • Ontario Northland. Bus services between North Bay and Toronto and Sudbury and Toronto are reduced.
  • Union Pearson Express. Operating as usual.
  • VIA Rail. All services operating with a reduced schedule except for the Toronto-Niagara Falls route, which is cancelled until further notice.

Ferry services

As with other forms of transport around Ontario, passengers should wear a face covering while onboard and physical distancing is encouraged. Food and beverage service will likely be paused and items brought on board shouldn’t be consumed during the journey.

As there are capacity limits for many forms of transportation, you may be required to make a reservation in advance to ensure physical distancing requirements are met.

  • Glenora Ferry. Operating as usual.
  • MS Chi-Cheemaun Ferry. Operating as usual.
  • Pelee Island Ferry. Operating as usual.
  • Wolfe Island Ferry. Operating as usual.

Which territories or provinces can I travel to?

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health strongly advises that you should only travel out of the province if it is essential and to self-isolate for 14 days when returning to Ontario.

  • Alberta. Non-essential should be avoided.
  • British Columbia. All non-essential travel should be avoided, including for a vacation and to visit family or friends outside of your household or core bubble.
  • Manitoba. Travellers entering Manitoba must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • New Brunswick. Travellers must self-isolate for 14 days and screening should be expected at entry points.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador. Visitors are not permitted unless certain extenuating circumstances are met and are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
  • Northwest Territories. Residents must self-isolate for 14 days and visitors are not allowed to travel to the Northwest Territories.
  • Nova Scotia. Travellers must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive or for the duration of their stay if it’s less than 14 days.
  • Nunavut. Residents must undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period in either Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg or Yellowknife before returning.
  • Prince Edward Island. Non-residents must apply in advance to travel and are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Quebec. Travel is limited to a few instances including residents returning home and does not include vacation purposes.
  • Saskatchewan. Visitors are requested to observe all public health measures including physical distancing and to self-monitor for 14 days.
  • Yukon. Travellers must self-isolate for 14 days in Whitehorse and complete a declaration.

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Frequently asked questions about travelling in Ontario during COVID-19

How far can I travel from home?

You are strongly advised to limit your travel to only essential purposes.

Are there any regional travel restrictions?

Ontarians should avoid non-essential travel outside of their public health measure zone where possible.

Can I travel to Ontario if I live in another territory or province?

Only essential travel to Ontario is recommended and you are advised to participate in a 14-day self-isolation period.

Do I need to limit the number of people I travel with?

You are encouraged to only travel with members of your household where possible.

Do I need to pre-book to visit dining venues and attractions?

Many attractions require you to purchase online advance tickets, and it’s a good idea to make a reservation for restaurants and other dining venues.

Will I need to self-isolate or go into quarantine when I return from my trip?

You are advised to self-isolate for 14 days when returning to Ontario.


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