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Toronto launches SwimTO and CampTO as city sees fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations|BCI CANADA

Mayor John Tory says Toronto is launching programs called SwimTO and CampTO to ensure residents can still enjoy the summer during the pandemic.

The city, meanwhile, is seeing fewer new cases daily and fewer hospitalizations due to COVID-19, Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, said at a news conference at city hall on Wednesday.

De Villa reported that Toronto has 121 new cases as of Tuesday at 3 p.m., a number that brings the city's cumulative total to 12,949.

A total of 10,310 people have recovered, an increase of 403 since Monday. A total of 956 people have died of COVID-19, with 328 in hospital, 73 in intensive care units and 61 on ventilators.

De Villa noted that Toronto is recording more cases among young people than it did earlier in the outbreak, but the highest rates of new infections currently are among people in their 50s. She said the main risk factor continues to be close contact with a new case, usually in a household or at work.

But public health measures, and public compliance with those measures, are making a difference, she said.

"We are certainly seeing progress here in Toronto with a reduction in new cases and hospitalizations," De Villa said.

CBCChildren play in a splash pad in Toronto.

SwimTO to help residents keep cool, mayor says

As summer approaches, Tory said staff are working to ensure the city's beaches, outdoor pools, wading pools and splash pads can be opened quickly as soon as Toronto is allowed to move into Stage 2 of the province's recovery plan.

SwimTO will ensure that Toronto residents can safely access outdoor aquatic recreation this summer, he said. 

"With the approach of hot summer weather and the extended closure of many indoor public spaces, it's vital that Torontonians have opportunities to cool down outdoors," Tory said.

"When permitted, the City plans to open its outdoor aquatic amenities to prevent heat-related illnesses while continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Tory said city staff have begun to hire and train staff, turn water on and fill outdoor pools, turn on mechanical and filtration systems, create signs about the importance of physical distancing and washing hands frequently, and draw up guidelines to ensure the amenities, including splash pads and wading pools, can open quickly when permission from the province is granted. 

© CBC'With the approach of hot summer weather and the extended closure of many indoor public spaces, it's vital that Torontonians have opportunities to cool down outdoors,' Mayor John Tory says.

Tory noted that the city's beaches have remained open during the pandemic in the same way that green spaces in parks have been open.

As part of SwimTO, lifeguards will supervise six of Toronto's beaches starting on Monday, June 22. The lifeguards will supervise each location daily from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Swimming without the supervision of a lifeguard or outside designated areas is not recommended. 

Toronto Public Health will test and analyze the quality of beach water, the city said in a news release. Eight of Toronto's 11 beaches have been awarded Blue Flag certification and that means they meet international standards for water quality and environmental management.

The six beaches that will have lifeguard supervision on June 22 are:

  • Bluffer's Park Beach (Blue Flag).

  • Cherry/Clarke Beach (Blue Flag).

  • Kew-Balmy Beach (Blue Flag).

  • Marie Curtis Park East Beach.

  • Sunnyside Beach.

  • Woodbine Beach (Blue Flag).

As for Toronto Island Park, its four beaches will be open for swimming when ferry service resumes. Rouge Valley Beach is currently not accessible and a supervised swim program will not operate there.

Right now, outdoor pools, wading pools and splash pads remain closed due to provincial orders and public health recommendations, Tory said.

© CBCMayor John Tory says summer in Toronto is not cancelled this year but it will be different.

City to offer summer camps on July 13

As for CampTO, the city will offer summer camps starting on July 13. The launch follows a provincial announcement that summer camps can operate during Stage 2 of the reopening plan.Tory said the city will offer more than 32,000 registered camp spaces for children aged six to 12 at about 150 locations across the city. More than eight weeks of camps will be available, Tory said. Camps will also be offered at six Toronto History Museum sites and one city arts centre.

CampTO will offer traditional day-camp experiences, including dance, drama, music, arts and crafts and active games.

Tory said the camps will meet current health guidelines set out by Toronto Public Health and the province. Guidelines during the pandemic include lower ratios of staff to kids, and capacity, physical distancing, mandatory health screening and increased cleaning of facilities.

Residents can get a look at the summer camps available online on Saturday, June 13 at

Registration for CampTO will begin at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24 for Etobicoke, York and Scarborough and Thursday, June 25 for East York, West Toronto, York and North York.

To register online, residents should go to Phone registration will also be available at 416-396-7378. Registration in person is not available. Residents can call 416-396-7378 Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for help preparing for registration.

© Evan Mitsui/CBCA woman with a dog rides a bicycle in Toronto amid the pandemic.

As for ActiveTO, Tory said the city has created 65 kilometres of quiet streets in 32 neighbourhoods as part of the plan. 

When the program was launched in May, the city planned to create 57 kilometres, but added eight more kilometres after receiving feedback from councillors and residents.

Tory said staff have been monitoring all quiet streets and are making changes as needed. The changes include adjusting the size of temporary barriers and where they are placed and reviewing the types of barriers and parking spaces.

The city plans to survey residents who use quiet streets to assess the existing locations.


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