Stratford reopens dog parks and tennis courts, while other outdoor amenities remain closed

Other recreational amenities in Stratford, like soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, washrooms, play structures and picnic tables, will remain closed.

Danjela Greydanus, secretary of the Stratford Dog Park Association, and her dog Saša – a German Shepherd-Collie mix – enjoy a game of fetch at the Stratford Dog Park Tuesday afternoon, after the city officially reopened the park for the first time since closing it at the end of March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Galen Simmons/The Beacon Herald/Postmedia Network

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Following a provincial announcement Tuesday morning allowing municipalities to begin opening some outdoor recreational amenities, the City of Stratford has reopened the Stratford dog park and local tennis courts.

Other recreational amenities, such as soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, washrooms, play structures and picnic tables, will remain closed to dissuade residents from gathering in groups larger than five people and encourage physical distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“People are still to follow the Ontario government’s recommendation of maintaining a distance of six feet from one another,” said Quin Malott, Stratford’s manager of parks, forestry, and cemeteries. “Tennis is one those sports where you can do it at a social distance.

By 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the tennis courts at the Stratford Tennis Club were full with players eager for some exercise after the city’s tennis courts were reopened Tuesday morning. Galen Simmons/The Beacon Herald/Postmedia Network

“Basketball or any team sport doesn’t always allow for that, so basketball courts and baseball diamonds … are open if you want to go kick a ball, but they’re closed for team sports and any type of gathering.”

The artificial-turf soccer fields at the Packham Road Sports Complex will also remain closed and gated off because there are a number of surfaces, such as player benches, that could expose users to potential transmission of COVID-19.

Malott said the city does not yet have plans to reopen any of the above facilities in the near future, and will only do so based on the advice and guidance of local and provincial public health officials.

“In keeping with the province’s directives, we are beginning to open some public spaces. … We will continue to monitor and ensure that we’re maintaining public-health standards as provided in the guidelines by the province and Huron Perth public health, and we ask people to continue to physical and social distance as they have in the past, in other public spaces,” Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson said.

On Tuesday morning, the Ontario government announced it had extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29 while entering the first stage of its framework for reopening the province.

As part of its plans, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective Tuesday.

In the meantime, outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province’s reopening plan.

Which outdoor recreational amenities are open and which are closed in Stratford


  • Tennis courts, including the ones at Shakespeare Park, SERC and Milton Street
  • The city’s off-leash dog park near the corner of Packham and Dunn Road
  • Most city sports fields are open for citizens to use, in keeping with provincial guidelines (individual activities with physical distance of at least two metres from any other person – i.e., not team or contact sports)
  • The municipal golf course is now open (visit for information)


  • Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment
  •  All-wheels skate park
  • Lions Pool
  • Anne Hathaway Splash Pad
  • Artificial-turf soccer field