- In Ontario, 80.82% of adults have gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 67.75% are fully vaccinated since December 15, 2020.
- In a city like Toronto, there’s no shortage of things to do and see, even with public health restrictions in place, such as visiting the Saturday Farmer’s Market at St. Lawrence Market.
- If you’ll be driving more often than you have in months, make sure your car insurance coverage is adequate.
It would be a stretch to suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is over. It isn’t. But there is much room for optimism: In Ontario, 80.82% of adults have gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 67.75% are fully vaccinated since December 15, 2020. Of young Ontarians between the ages of 12 and 17, 64.4% have received a single dose, and 40% are fully vaccinated.
That encouraged the province to move to the third step of its summer reopening plan on July 16, meaning indoor dining, fitness clubs, and going to a cinema is allowable, albeit with capacity restrictions. Though masking and physical distance measures remain in place, things are looking up.
With outdoor public gatherings now permissible with some restrictions, we now have the option of getting outside to attend an event. In a city like Toronto, there’s no shortage of things to do and see, even with public health restrictions still in place. Here are a few family-friendly things you can do in Toronto in August that will lift your spirits:
- Saturday Farmers’ Market at St. Lawrence Market. Find fresh food at the historic St. Lawrence Market every Saturday from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. (indoors) and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (outdoors).
- Summer Art Camp. An outdoor, in-person summer camp filled with art projects and activities for children ages 6-12, running August 16-20 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Franklin Carmichael Art Centre. Art supplies are provided, and kids can paint, draw, sculpt or do crafts. Registration is required on a pay-what-you-can basis.
- Toronto Maple Leafs Baseball. If you’re a baseball fan, take advantage of watching Toronto’s oldest semi-pro baseball team compete for free in the Intercounty Baseball League at Dominico Field in Christie Pits Park. The team’s season started in early June and runs until August 22, with 18 games scheduled in the Pits.
- Visit Queen’s Park. From mid-July until early September, take a 30-minute guided tour on weekdays to explore the grounds of Ontario’s parliament to learn about the history and unique architectural features of the building and the work of parliament. Pre-registration is encouraged. Groups are limited to 10 people per tour.
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Always keep safe driving principles in mind
It may have been a while since you slid into the driver’s seat to go for a cruise farther than to your local grocery store. If you’re planning on taking a road trip or driving to an event in T.O., take your time behind the wheel, and keep these driving safety tips in mind:
- Get your vehicle ready. Top up your car’s windshield wiper fluid, ensure your tires are properly inflated, and remember to travel with an emergency roadside safety kit.
- Have car-related documents handy. Anytime you get behind the wheel, check to ensure you have your driver’s licence, insurance documents, vehicle ownership, and registration with you.
- Wear a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt saves lives. Strap in and make sure everyone in the car does too.
- Drive defensively. You can expect traffic volumes to increase. Take your time. Don’t drive aggressively and obey the speed limit. The new laws and penalties in Ontario targeting aggressive and dangerous driving are severe.
- Give emergency vehicles the right-of-way. Slow down and move over when police, ambulance, fire trucks, or tow trucks have their flashing lights on and need to pass you.
- Concentrate on driving. Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do while driving. Mute your mobile phone and let your passengers select the music or navigate.
- Don’t drive fatigued. Driving while you’re tired is risky. If you’re tired, let someone else take the wheel or take a nap before hitting the road.
- Never drive impaired. Never get behind the wheel if you’ve consumed alcohol or cannabis. There is no acceptable reason, ever, for driving while impaired.
Know before you go: do a car insurance checkup
Something else to consider is whether your car insurance coverage is adequate if you’ll be driving more often than you have in recent months. After all, the less you drive, the cheaper your premium will cost.
For instance, did you temporarily suspend your road coverage at some point during the pandemic? If so, contact your broker or insurer and let them know you need it reinstated. Otherwise, you may be driving without insurance, which is a serious offence.
Moreover, if you find you need to commute to an office or workplace instead of working from home, it’s important to notify your provider and change your vehicle’s classification from ‘pleasure’ to ‘commute’.
Err on the side of caution and make sure your auto policy is up to date and provides you with the coverage you need. And if it strikes you that you’re paying too much for car insurance, do yourself a favour and compare policies and premiums from a broad range of insurers for free. Switching to a different carrier is less complicated than you might think, and by doing so, you might save a fair bit of money on an annual premium.