Parks and campgrounds open in eastern Ontario as COVID-19 restrictions eased
FITZROY HARBOUR, ONT. -- As part of Step One of Ontario's COVID-19 reopening on Friday, campgrounds, overnight camping, short-term rentals, and Ontario Parks are now fully open.
Campers wasted no time getting out of the city and to their sites, some that were booked months in advance. At Fitzroy Provincial Park in Ottawa's west end, Dave MacMillan was willing to wait a second longer once Friday morning arrived.
“We were out here at 10 o’clock. I called and said how early can we come, they said as soon as you can, so we were here at 10 o’clock setting up, ready to go," said MacMillan.
With trailer in tow, MacMillan and his wife were happy to get out of the city. After having two previous bookings cancelled as well as bookings Wednesday and Thursday refunded, the couple were happy to finally get outdoors.
"It’s a little frustrating when you can watch people at Costco and there’s a thousand people there, but you can’t go camping with your wife on a 60 foot by 100 foot campsite," says MacMillan.
Private campsites are also thriving on the first day of reopening. At Bayview Resort in White Lake, owner Walter Geisser says it feels good to be back open.
"We prepare weeks and weeks to have the customers here and now we are there," smiled Geisser. "Everyone is excited."
The resort near White Lake offers trailer sites and cottage rentals. Geisser says every available space this opening weekend was booked except for one.
"People called steady, seasonal sites, overnight sites, and we just can’t accommodate anymore," said Geisser, adding that every weekend for the rest of the summer is pretty much booked up. When the resort is full there can be anywhere from 500 to 600 people on site.
Randy and Loretta Dean were the first ones in the park at Bayview Resort this weekend, enjoying watching the other trailers fill in around them.
"This is probably our favourite spot, we come here about three, four times a year," says Randy.
"We didn’t think they were going to lift the ban, so we just assumed that we’re not getting in," adds Loretta. "So I cancelled my vacation at work, so I’m working remotely here."
And at one of the sixteen cottages on site, Angie Tilbury is happy the ban on camping was lifted just in time for her family to make their yearly trip.
"It’s been a very long time, so yes we’re very excited to be back at the lake for the weekend."