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COVID-19 UPDATE
Current COVID-19 Requirements
Changes to COVID-19 requirements

As COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, public health recommendations have been changing, sometimes asynchronously. We are doing our best to balance staff, volunteer and participant health and safety with these evolving recommendations.

With the removal of many provincial mandates regarding vaccinations and masking indoors, we will also be making changes to our COVID-19 related requirements for staff, volunteers, and participants.

We hope this balanced approach is respectful of everyone's comfort while supporting measures proven to be effective against the spread of COVID-19.

The High Park Nature Centre will continue to closely monitor public health advice and provincial guidelines. In the event it is necessary to reinstate requirements for mask wearing and proof of vaccination, we may do so. HPNC is committed to the health and safety of all and will be prepared to be as responsive as the evolving COVID-19 situation requires us to be.

Read our Registration Policies



HPNC Staff & Volunteer Vaccination Policy

Click here to read our staff & volunteer COVID-19 vaccination policy



Past COVID-19 Updates

January 6, 2022: Winter 2022 Adapted Programming

As we start 2022, the rapidly evolving nature of COVID-19 and associated health regulations require us to yet again reconfigure our program offerings. While the current Ontario Public Health guidelines do not restrict our ability to offer outdoor nature experiences as planned, the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks requires us to proceed with caution. Additionally, inaccessibility to rapid antigen and PCR testing has already resulted in staffing shortages at the Nature Centre.

Based on the number of participants registered in our programs, we have decided to offer some of our programs virtually and some in person until at least January 31. This will allow us time to assess our community needs and make decisions on how best to deliver our programs safely in person. We also hope that this will allow participants time to get their third vaccination shot (booster vaccination shot) as quickly as possible.

Provided the city and provincial guidelines remain unchanged, we will return to offering all our previously scheduled in-person programming with some possible changes next month, contingent on the continued health of staff and their families. Rest assured, the High Park Nature Centre will continue offering engaging and meaningful nature programming to all our participants irrespective of the format.

We apologize for any inconveniences caused over the next few weeks due to these COVID-19 related changes. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Please visit individual webpages for our programs listed below to find out what new changes have been made to the programs for which you have registered. Additionally, please ensure you’ve read and understood our registration policies.


January 5, 2022: Owl Prowl Cancellation

Based on the new provincial health directives, we are unable to proceed with our Owl Prowl event scheduled for Saturday, January 8, as we had planned for the presentation by the Mountsberg Raptor Centre to take place indoors. We chatted with our partners at the Raptor Centre to inquire about the possibility of moving their presentation outdoors and learned that at this time the they are not currently offering public presentations or programs (though they are still open for self-guided outdoor visits).

All participants who have registered for Owl Prowl can either receive a full refund for the cancellation or donate the refund (or part of it) to the High Park Nature Centre and receive a charitable tax receipt. Participants should reply to the email sent out regarding the cancellation with their preferred option.

We apologize for any inconveniences this cancellation may have caused. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


December 23, 2021: Winter Holiday Camp 2021 Cancellation

The last weeks of 2021 are bringing some new variables into the practicality of teaching our programs safely in person.

We have had to make the difficult decision to cancel this year’s winter holiday camp. While we hoped that having shorter programs outdoors and with masks on would mitigate the risks of Omicron transmission, the explosion of cases in the past few days has already created staffing shortages due to the difficulty of obtaining rapid antigen and PCR tests. Without being able to accurately and quickly ascertain COVID-19 status for program participants or staff, planning to proceed next week poses an undue risk. Additionally, a large proportion of positive Omicron cases is in fully vaccinated individuals, who can be asymptomatic.

This is disappointing news for all of us. However, we hope that by making this decision, we do our part to limit contact within groups and ensure that we can all get the third vaccination shot (booster vaccination shot) as quickly as possible. Please stay tuned by visiting our website, subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as we adapt to this period of COVID-19 and plan what we can offer safely in the months ahead. We will use the next week to think creatively about ways to engage program participants in appreciation for High Park.

Families of those participants who have registered for this year's winter holiday camp will be issued a full refund and sent a refund confirmation email by December 23, 2021.


IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE

June 11, 2021

Hello,

With the recent news of Ontario moving into Step 1, the High Park Nature Centre is excited to share that we will return to offering limited opportunities for small groups of in-person programming. We are looking forward to seeing our nature-loving friends again soon!

The High Park Nature Centre

Here are some of the changes we have made to our programming in order to meet the current Toronto Public Health guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19


April 1, 2021

Hello,

With the news today of the “provincewide emergency brake” orders from the Government of Ontario, the High Park Nature Centre has made the decision to pause in-person programming for the duration of this period.

During this time, we will continue to offer our creative and interactive virtual programs so that our community can continued to feel connected to each other and local nature while at home. We thank you for your continued support and understanding!

Please email any questions to info@highparknaturecentre.com

All the best,

The High Park Nature Centre


March 11, 2021

Dear HPNC Participants,

One year ago, schools were being closed in Toronto and shortly after, it was announced that Ontario would enter a provincial state of emergency.

Since then, the High Park Nature Centre staff have worked to continue providing educational programs and meaningful connections to nature in High Park with exceptional creativity and flexibility. We have erred on the side of caution and have been diligent in our efforts to do our part in the community to keep the risk of COVID transmission low for both staff and participants.

We decided to stay the course with not offering in-person programming, supporting the ‘stay-at-home’ orders, directions from health officials, and also because schools were closed.

Fortunately, schools have opened, ‘stay at home’ orders have been lifted and Toronto has entered the Grey Lockdown Zone. In light of these changes, we can safely offer limited opportunities for small groups of in-person programming. We are looking forward to seeing our nature-loving friends again soon!

The High Park Nature Centre


February 11, 2021

Hello,

With the Stay-At-Home orders from the Government of Ontario and Toronto Public Health, the High Park Nature Centre continues to remain paused for in-person programming. We will continue to review updated information from all health officials and will notify everyone when the High Park Nature Centre can safely return to in-person programs again.

During this time, we will continue to offer our creative and interactive virtual programs so that our community can continued to feel connected to each other and local nature while at home. At the same time work progresses on plans for the eventual return to in-person programming, we remain optimistic that will happen sometime this spring. We thank you for your continued support and understanding!

Please email any questions to info@highparknaturecentre.com

All the best,

The High Park Nature Centre


January 14, 2021

Hello,

With the most recent Stay-At-Home orders from the Government of Ontario and Toronto Public Health, the High Park Nature Centre has made the decision to remain paused for in-person program until the month of February.

During this time, we will continue to offer our creative and interactive virtual programs so that our community can continued to feel connected to each other and local nature while at home. We thank you for your continued support and understanding!

Please email any questions to info@highparknaturecentre.com

All the best,

The High Park Nature Centre


December 22, 2020

Dear High Park Nature Centre Participants,

As a city, we have watched Toronto’s COVID-19 rates rise despite the ‘grey zone’ lockdown we entered on November 21, 2020. Recognizing the impact of long-term lockdowns and increased COVID-19 infections on vulnerable people, health care workers, organizations and businesses and individuals, we have carefully weighed our commitment to provide outdoor experiences to people in High Park with commensurate responsibility to support those impacted negatively by COVID-19.

There is provision in this ‘hard lockdown’, as there was in the ‘grey zone’ lockdown, to operate outdoor activities in groups of ten or less. We have not chosen to proceed with programs despite this small allowance. You may wonder why, and we would like to be transparent.

Our healthcare system is at a near-breaking point. The mounting toll on health care workers is immeasurable. We do not want to see our healthcare system unable to maintain care for those who need it, so we are stepping back.

Our staff have families and children in school. School closures mean that they could juggle caring for children who are learning at home, risking their safety by getting to work, and trying to accommodate people in outdoor programs with 9 participants, many of whom are children. This is a complex request.

There are critical recreational activities to people’s physical and mental health that are available under this provision. They are accessible and provide an important opportunity to get outdoors and get exercise. We are stepping back to ensure these programs remain available. We hope that playgrounds and other accessible recreational facilities can remain open.

We recognize that pausing in person programming again is disappointing to some - both participants and staff. However, we hope that for the greater good, it is the right decision to minimize the broad effects of COVID-19 while our government can address high-risk locations like long-term care homes, hospitals and schools with robust risk reduction and contract tracing while they simultaneously work to distribute vaccines across the country.

We hope that our participants support our desire to make a small impact within our sphere to shorten or reduce the impact of COVID-19 so that we have a quicker, less catastrophic return to normal. We can stay home. We can make programs to learn about High Park creative, accessible and innovative in this relatively short window where we have been asked to step aside from in person activities if we can.

The health and wellbeing of the people we serve and the staff who provide programming and a vital connection to nature are of paramount importance. We will re-evaluate where we are at the end of this ‘hard lockdown’ in January.

Rest assured, we hope to reconnect in person, safely, as soon as possible. In the meantime, we encourage you to venture out with your household members with some binoculars and take time to notice the incredible wildlife, winter survival skills of the entire ecosystem in the park, and enjoy time in High Park just observing.

We apologize for the disappointment for those who were looking forward to being in the park with educators and participants. We will get through this brief pause and appreciate being together in High Park with renewed wonder.

Sincerely,

High Park Nature Centre Board of Directors

December 14, 2020

Because of increased COVID-19 measures by the Government of Ontario and Toronto Public Health, the High Park Nature Centre has paused in-person programs since Monday, November 23. Although we are disappointed, we fully support stopping the spread of COVID-19. We have been enjoying many creative, virtual ways to connect with participants and with our local ecology.

We have opened registration for winter nature clubs and remain optimistic that in-person programs will resume again on January 4. We very much appreciate your support and are looking forward to continuing to explore local nature with all of you - as we navigate this together.


November 22, 2020

With Friday’s announcement of increased COVID-19 restrictions by the Government of Ontario and Toronto Public Health, the High Park Nature Centre will be pausing in-person programs as of Monday, November 23 until gathering outdoors is considered safe again. Although we are disappointed, we fully support the increased priority on stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Over the next several days, we will be considering how we can best continue connecting our community with nature. We will be communicating some options regarding how the fall session will finish later this week. We know from our experiences this spring that there are many creative ways to connect with each other and with our local ecology virtually. We very much appreciate your support and are looking forward to continuing to explore local nature with all of you - as we navigate this together.


July 29, 2020

The High Park Nature Centre is excited to be offering in-person outdoor education programs again!

Here are some of the changes we have made to our programming in order to meet the current Toronto Public Health guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19.


July 2, 2020

The High Park Nature Centre is currently planning our in-person programs for this summer. Please stay tuned for the details of this revamped offering of summer programming which will meet the current Toronto Public Health guidelines to continue to limit the spread COVID-19.

Here are some of our first in-person program offerings:

In-person Early Years Clubs

Yoga in the Park


April 21, 2020

Due to COVID-19 the High Park Nature Centre has been closed since March 13th and unfortunately we have made the difficult but necessary decision to remain closed to in person programs until at least June 30th. We are hopeful that this closure will continue to help aid in the effort to “plank the curve”. Please do your part to support this initiative as well and follow the directions of Toronto Public Health or your local public health agency as best as you can.

Please email any questions to info@highparknaturecentre.com

We look forward to seeing you again soon, maybe even virtually and we truly appreciate your continued support and patience.

All the best,

High Park Nature Centre Staff


April 9, 2020

Due to COVID-19 the High Park Nature Centre has been closed since March 13th and unfortunately we have made the difficult but necessary decision to remain closed to in person programs until at least May 4. We are hopeful that this closure will continue to help aid in the effort to “plank the curve”. Please do your part to support this initiative as well and follow the directions of Toronto Public Health or your local public health agency as best as you can.

Please email any questions to info@highparknaturecentre.com

We look forward to seeing you again soon, maybe even virtually and we truly appreciate your continued support and patience.

All the best,

High Park Nature Centre Staff


March 26, 2020

We would like to update you on what the Nature Centre has been doing in response to this time of uncertainty.

We are keeping up to date with all the municipal, provincial and federal public health agencies, keeping in touch with our partners and organizations across the city and we have made some changes that we feel support the actions across the country.

We will follow the recommendations of Toronto Public Health for the indication that it is safe to resume in-person programs of any kind. We have offered refunds to participants for programs running during this time of temporary closure and will continue to offer refunds for any additional periods of closure that may occur.

We have been able to support our staff in working remotely, and a small number of staff go into the Nature Centre each day in order to check on our educational ambassadors Snappy the snake and Houdini the turtle to ensure that they have care. We are still checking the phone messages – but will not be answering the phone live. You can still reach our staff by email.

We thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigate the impact of physical distancing on our program offerings. Now more than ever, staying connected to nature (in a safe way) is crucial to our mental wellbeing. The Nature Centre staff are working hard to innovate ways to connect with nature that still support the national efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and “plank the curve”.

We look forward to seeing you again soon - perhaps even virtually.

Keep Calm and Nature On, Sara Street Executive Director

Kara Lysne-Paris Chair & President, Board of Directors


March 13th, 2020

The High Park Nature Centre (HPNC) is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our program participants, staff, volunteers and our community in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you will have learned, the Government of Ontario has ordered all publicly funded schools in the province to be closed from March 14th to April 5th, as a precautionary measure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

HPNC has been closely monitoring the public health situation. While this is a time of significant uncertainty, two things are clear: We cannot take risks with the health of our participants, volunteers and staff, nor can we do anything that risks undermining substantial measures authorities have enacted to protect public health.

We are writing to share the unfortunate news that all HPNC programs are suspended as of today, Friday, March 13. This policy will remain in effect until at least April 6, depending on the evolving COVID-19 directives in Toronto.

We will be offering full refunds for any programs that are cancelled during this time period. We will apply this refund to your account. T-shirt purchases will be refunded as well but donations will not because tax receipts have already been issued. Please allow 5 business days for refunds to be processed.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Nature Centre once our programs resume, and hope that our participants stay well.

Please email any questions to info@highparknaturecentre.com

Sincerely,

High Park Nature Centre Staff and Board of Directors

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