COVID-19: Toronto inches closer to reopening as zoos, outdoor pools welcome back residents

Although Ontario has been in Step 1 of its COVID-19 reopening plan for more than a week, Toronto city is continuing its gradual restart as it marks the return of zoo visits and the opening of all outdoor municipal pools.

Under the reopening plan, certain outdoor amenities were allowed to have visitors, subject to public health safety measures such as reduced capacity, face coverings and the continued closure of indoor parts of those amenities.

At Riverdale Farm, which is home to a variety of animals and is located west of Bayview Avenue and south of Rosedale Valley Road, residents lined up early Saturday. Toronto Mayor John Tory and Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam greeted the initial visitors as they sought to enter the no-cost admission destination. It is open daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Read more: Ontario enters provincial COVID-19 reopening plan: Here’s what is allowed in Step 1

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In Toronto’s west end, High Park Zoo — the oldest zoo in the city — also opened its doors for visitors. It too is free to the public and is open daily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Capacity limits at Riverdale Farm and the High Park Zoo are capped at 15 per cent during Step 1 and reservations aren’t required.

Click to play video: 'Navigating summer holidays amid Canadian COVID-19 restrictions' Navigating summer holidays amid Canadian COVID-19 restrictions

Navigating summer holidays amid Canadian COVID-19 restrictions

Although the Toronto Zoo has been open to members only since June 12, general admissions began on Saturday.

If you’re looking to escape the heat, it just got a little easier as the City of Toronto opened 46 more outdoor pools a week after the first 10 began operations.

Read more: City of Toronto opening 10 outdoor pools on June 12 as province enters reopening plan

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Meanwhile, Mayor Tory promoted local COVID-19 inoculation efforts Saturday morning while visiting an outdoor vaccine pow wow for the city’s Indigenous community. Locally, he said more than 75 per cent of eligible adults have received their first dose and 25 per cent of eligible adults have received two doses.

“This is a significant accomplishment and I want to express my thanks to all of the health partners, people on the City staff, Toronto Public Health and all of those setting up all the different clinics,” he said.

“The bottom line is … we have a long way to go in what is our most important priority. If we want to make sure that the Delta variant doesn’t get an upper hand on us, the best thing we can do to make sure of that is … push those numbers up even higher, but that really relies on people out there.”

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Delta variant concerns

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