Camping season begins in confusion in Ontario

Saturday marked the first day of camping for many vacationers in Ontario, just two days after the Ford government announced the opening of private campsites.

“I will be very honest: it is madness!” said Julie Roy, co-owner of Veilleux Camping & Marina, in Hearst, without hesitation. “But I am very, very happy to finally be able to offer a ray of hope to our customers.”

Since Thursday, his phone keeps ringing. At the end of the phone, customers bombard her with questions to which she does not always have an answer. One of them keeps coming back: can they sleep on the spot?

To answer it, she refers in particular to the government press release, where a sentence is reserved for private campsites: Private parks and campsites can reopen in order to prepare for the season and offer access to caravans and vehicles. leisure whose owners have a contract for a full season.

“It’s very … I don’t mean inconsistent, but it’s vague as a message,” she believes, explaining that she first interpreted it as a ban on sleeping on the spot, before changing her mind.

Algonquin park office at the West gate

A feeling shared by Debra Bigras, co-owner of the Serpent River Campground, a hundred kilometers from Sudbury. “There were so many rumors going around after the announcement!” she exclaims.

Having only two days notice before opening, too, was quite a surprise!

Debra Bigras, co-owner of the Serpent River Campground

She claims to have spoken with the Ontario Provincial Police and the local public health unit, in particular, without obtaining clear answers to her questions.

“We wanted to make sure we got it right to avoid a large fine,” says Ms. Bigras. “But nobody had enough information, or gave contradictory information.”

Contacted by The Camping Canuck, the office of the Premier of Ontario confirms that seasonal campers can settle in today and sleep on the spot.

If you don’t have a seasonal contract, you can’t just set up your tent at a campsite and sleep there overnight

Ivana Yelich, Director of Media Relations in the Prime Minister’s Office

Criteria for private campsites

  • Only customers with a seasonal contract can camp;
  • Only campsites with electricity, water and wastewater disposal facilities can be opened;
  • All recreational facilities at the campsite and all common facilities at the campsite, such as the toilets, must be closed;
  • The other areas of the seasonal campsite must be closed to the general public and can only be opened to prepare for the reopening of the seasonal campsite.

Physical distance

Despite the difficulties, Ms. Roy opened her campsite on Saturday. As for the physical distance instructions, it partially relies on the code of conduct assembled by the Camping in Ontario association , of which its establishment is a member.

So we took the code guidelines and adapted them to have security rules that fit our reality , she says. For example, customers will have to enter the campsite office one by one.

For its part, the Serpent River Campground is already expecting more than 40 of its 57 seasonal campers on Saturday and Sunday. Ms. Bigras felt the enthusiasm of everyone who made a call to her office. “Most had already packed their bags so they could come and camp as soon as it opened,” she jokes.

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