No camping, Rideau Canal locks closed for unofficial start of summer in Ottawa and eastern Ontario

OTTAWA — The Rideau Canal locks and campsites across Ottawa and eastern Ontario will remain closed for the May long weekend, as the stay-at-home order continues.

The May long weekend is considered the unofficial start of summer, and a popular weekend for people to go camping or put the boat in the water for the first time this season.

However, with Ontario extending the stay-at-home order until June 2, Parks Canada, Ontario Parks and other campsites in the region say they will remain closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

The Ontario government is encouraging Ontarians to only leave home for essential reasons including groceries, health care service and outdoor exercise or walking pets in your community.

CTV News Ottawa looks at plans for camping and the Rideau Canal across the region.

Rideau Canal

Parks Canada has announced that it will delay the launch of most visitor services until at least June 2, including the Rideau Canal National Historic Site and camping.

The Rideau Canal typically opens for the season on the Friday of the May long weekend. Parks Canada says lockage and overnight mooring remain closed for at least two more weeks.

Ontario Provincial Parks

You won’t be able to go overnight camping in provincial parks this weekend, including at Algonquin Park, Fitzroy Provincial Park, Rideau River Provincial Park, Bon Echo, Bonnechere, and Frontenac.

Ontario Parks says in response to the provincewide stay-at-home order, the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks is extending the temporary closure of campground and backcountry campsites and roofed accommodations in Ontario Parks up to and including June 2.

“We understand this temporary closure of overnight stays in provincial parks and conservation reserves may impact your plans, however, the health and well-being of Ontarians is our number one priority,” said Ontario Parks on its website.

Ontario Parks remain open for outdoor day use activities, including hiking.

Wesley Clover Parks

Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa’s west end says its campsite will remain closed this weekend, and the tentative opening date is June 3.

“We are closely monitoring the public health situation and are committed to following all guidelines to ensure the safety of our guests and community,” said a message on the Wesley Clover Parks website.

St. Lawrence Parks Commission

The St. Lawrence Parks Commission says the opening of the campgrounds and beaches have been delayed until June 3 due to the stay-at-home order.

Guests with a reservation between May 21 and June 2 are welcome to modify their reservations. If guests prefer to cancel, they will receive a full refund without penalty.

Pembroke Marina and Riverside Park Campground

The city of Pembroke announced the Pembroke Marina and Riverside Park Campground will not be opening on the Victoria Day long weekend due to the stay-at-home order.

“No launching of boats at the Pembroke Marina will be permitted at this time. The City of Pembroke will continue to follow provincial legislation on this matter,” said the city in a media release.

Gatineau Park

The National Capital Commission’s campsite in Gatineau Park is open for the summer.

A note on the NCC’s website notes, “It is currently prohibited for residents of Ontario to enter or be in Quebec, except for detailed exceptions. It is the visitors’ responsibility to ensure that their camping trip complies with the public health directives.”

The NCC says only people living at the same address can camp together at a site

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