Things to do in Ottawa for spring break as city urges residents not to travel
Spring in Ottawa. (Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash)
OTTAWA -- While city officials are encouraging all Ottawa residents to stay close to home during the April Break at elementary and secondary schools, there are still things you can do with the family in the national capital region.
The delayed spring break for students and parents runs from April 12 to 16.
Ontario implemented a 28-day, stay-at-home order at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, forcing the closure of all non-essential businesses across the province. The closures include all museums and other tourist attractions in Ottawa.
"The current recommendations under the stay-at-home order is we shouldn't be leaving our regions. It really, truly is a stay-at-home order, that is the order," said Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte when asked about Ottawa residents visiting cottages or going to Gatineau Park.
"There are options here in Ottawa; there are parks, there are venues that you can walk around the block, etc. So, no you shouldn't be crossing the bridge to go to Quebec. You shouldn't be leaving your neighbourhood just to go and trance around in other areas. This is serious."
Gatineau and the MRC-des-Collines-de-l'Outaouais will remain in a lockdown until April 18. The special emergency measures include the closure of all schools and non-essential businesses.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at things you can and can't do during the stay-at-home order in Ottawa.
All events and social gatherings
- Indoors: not allowed, except with members of your household (or one other household if you live alone)
- Outside: A maximum of five people
You should only go out for necessities, such as:
- Work, if you can’t do it remotely
- Helping vulnerable people
- Exercise and physical activity
Wear a mask in city parks
Ottawa Public Health "strongly recommends" people wear masks while visiting city parks.
"The COVID-19 variants-of-concern, which are prominent in the community, are much more contagious and transmissible – even outdoors," said the city. "Masks protect residents from the spread and will help turnaround the current surge of the virus."
Safe options for outdoor play and leisure
Ottawa Public Health offers "safe options" for outdoor play and leisure during the stay-at-home order:
- Going to less crowded parks
- Gardening and yardwork
- Personal hobbies such as bird watching, stargazing, painting, nature journaling, and photography
- Picnics, playing catch, kicking a soccer ball, throwing a football
- Flying a kite
- Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
- Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
Ottawa Public Health says outdoor activities are good for both physical and mental health and usually carry a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission than indoor activities.
Play structures and playground equipment
City of Ottawa play structures, swings, slides and other playground amenities are open.
The city reminds people the social gathering limits of no more than five people applies and children and parents are strongly encouraged to wear masks around the play structures.
City of Ottawa parks and sports fields
City of Ottawa parks and recreational areas are allowed to remain open during the stay-at-home order.
The city says sports fields and ball diamonds remain closed until the current restrictions are eased to allow sports activities. The current provincial regulations do not allow team or group recreation, sports play, scrimmage or training.
The city of Ottawa says nets on city-owned tennis courts will be installed starting in mid-April.
Until the nets are installed, courts can be used for informal non-team sports including singles tennis and pickelball.
Ottawa's basketball courts are open, but the city says no scrimmage or team play is permitted during the stay-at-home order.
The city says you can take part in casual activities, like pop-flies or playing catch in parks while maintaining physical distancing. No team play or scrimmages are allowed.
Ottawa skate parks
Skate parks are open during the stay at home order. The city offers the following safety tips:
- Wear a mask when waiting for your turn, watching fellow skaters and as much as possible when using the facility.
- Maintain physical distancing between yourself and others outside of your immediate household.
- Leave the park if it’s too crowded and come back at a less crowded time.
HIKING IN OTTAWA AND GATINEAU
The National Capital Commission invites you to enjoy spring in the Greenbelt and in Gatineau Park.
- For a list of trails in the Greenbelt, visit https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/hiking-and-walking-greenbelt
- For a list of recommended trails in Gatineau Park, visit https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/gatineau-park-trails-in-spring
Mayor Jim Watson is urging all Ottawa residents to remain on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River during the stay-at-home order.
"The city of Ottawa is 2,600 square kilometres. It's a large piece of geography. We have lots of city and NCC trails on this side, as well as parklands. So we really encourage people not to go over to a cottage or Gatineau Park," said Watson.
"Our best advice is please respect the borders and stay within your community."
Health officials in Ontario and Quebec recommend residents avoid non-essential interprovincial travel.
Outdoor recreational amenities open during the shutdown and stay-at-home order
- Parks and recreational areas
- Baseball diamonds
- Tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts
- Basketball courts
- BMX parks
- Skate parks
- Frisbee golf locations
- Cycling tracks and bike trails
- Horse riding facilities
- Shooting ranges, including those operated by rod and gun clubs
- Portions of parks or recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment
- Golf courses and driving ranges (facilities and clubhouses must close)
Ottawa museums closed during the shutdown and stay-at-home order
- Canadian War Museum
- Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum
- Canada Science and Technology Museum
- Canadian Museum of Nature
- The Diefenbunker Museum
- National Gallery of Canada
- Ottawa Art Gallery
SPRING BREAK ACTIVITIES
Ingenium is offering online Spring Break Activities for families.
- Canada Agriculture and Food Museum: Edible Adventures
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum: Canada in Space
- Canada Science and Technology Museum: Creative Reset
CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM
The Canadian War Museum invites you to enjoy the Museum at Home.
The museum offers resources online during these challenging times.