Ontario Parks said the number of people looking for camps has risen sharply, and bookings have nearly doubled in the first few weeks of this year.
The Provincial Parks Service said the reservation jumped from 29,504 in the first few weeks of 2020 to 58,475 for the same period this year, a potential sign that after a week of locking and a delayed March break, people crave some escape to ease collective cabin fever.
“We really love camping, and obviously nothing will open up with COVID,” said Gary Cunliffe of London, Ont., A man who has been trying to camp for weeks for his family.
Campsites in Ontario Parks can be booked up to five months in advance. The park service begins with online reservations every day at 7 a.m. Eastern Time.
Cunliffe and his wife spent every morning on their devices, hovering their fingers over the “Book Now” button. The problem is that they are not alone.
“You hope to be the one to be elected,” he said. “The last week and a half we’ve been meeting with“ Sorry this place is already booked. “
“It was frustrating, but I kind of understand what’s going on there.”
Ontario Parks offers tips for overcoming crowds
This is the latest chapter in the pandemic that can be said in part through shortcomings. From the early days of food shelves without toilet paper to scarce supplies of trampolines and swimming pools in the summer and fitness equipment in the fall.
And Ontario numbers – provincial park officials say the reservation is nearly 100 percent higher than the same time last year – are mirrored in much of the country.
Many and provincial camps in Quebec are largely reserved, especially those closer to urban areas. Alberta opens its online booking system next week, and BC next week.
Demand is so strong, Ontario Parks has even published a list of tips to help people who are unlucky enough to beat the crowd.
“With double the number of customers trying to book during the months of July and August compared to last year, it is more competitive when trying to get a website,” the park service website said.
“In many cases, there may be hundreds of customers competing for the same place for the same arrival date.”
Tips include avoiding Algonquin, Killbear, Pinery, Sandbanks and Bon Echo provincial parks and choosing less popular parks.
It also recommends camping in the spring or fall and, if possible, an early booking. If the reservation fails earlier, it is recommended that you leave the reservation at the last minute.
“Our parks get thousands of cancellations every year, many at the last minute. Smart campers closely monitor the reservation system, ready to hijack newly available websites,” the website says.
Cunliffe finally paid off with two weeks of getting up early and trying to book on multiple devices. He said his family managed to find a site in one of their favorite parks.
“We just got the site in late July for two weeks this morning,” he said Thursday.