Parks & Facilities By-law Review

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The City of Ottawa proudly oversees an extensive network of parkland covering an area roughly the size of 4,300 hectares (or 8,000 football fields) across 1,300 sites, as well as more than 100 recreational and cultural facilities.

In our commitment to maintain these green spaces and recreational facilities, the City is currently undertaking a review of the Parks and Facilities By-law. This review is essential to ensure our indoor and outdoor recreational spaces continue to foster community engagement and provide opportunities for recreational and cultural activities that are inclusive, safe and accessible to all.


History of this by-law

The Parks and Facilities By-law was initially developed in 2004. Minor changes were made in a 2021 update to better meet community needs, accommodate technological advancements and ensure alignment with other updated by-laws.

City Council has now directed staff to undertake a full review, and we welcome your input. This review is intended to consider more substantive changes to the bylaw to reflect evolving community and emerging user needs, as well as updates to terminology and administrative changes.

The Parks and Facilities By-law must align with the following by-laws to avoid contradictions:

  • Animal Care and Control By-law No. 2003-077
  • E-Scooter By-law By-law No. 2002-174
  • Film By-law No. 2020-164
  • Noise By-law No. 2017-255
  • Open Air Fire By-law 2004-163
  • Smoking and Vaping By-law No. 2019-241
  • Solid Waste Management By-law No. 2019-241
  • Special Events By-law 2013-232
  • Municipal Alcohol Policy

The Parks and Facilities By-law review will not consult on topics covered under the by-laws listed above, as specific consultations have been held for these by-law reviews. This includes dogs in parks which is covered under the Animal Care and Control By-law (No. 2003-077) which explains how owners should care for and control their dogs, including where they can be on and off-leash. The City of Ottawa’s website has a dogs in parks map showing where dogs are allowed to be on and off-leash in parks.

Since smoking and vaping in parks is covered under the Smoking and Vaping (By-law No. 2019-241), this topic will not be included as part of the Parks and Facilities By-law review. The Smoking and Vaping By-law states that no person shall smoke or vape on outdoor municipal property which includes parks.


Features of the by-law

The Parks and Facilities By-law addresses a wide variety of topics to ensure indoor and outdoor recreational amenities are used for their intended purpose, are kept in good condition and contribute to the safety, accessibility and enjoyment of these spaces. In our commitment to continue serving the public, the key priorities we aim to address in the by-law through this review are outlined in the sections below.

Public safety

To ensure resident safety while using City parks and facilities, staff will define clear guidelines for access, including hours of operation. Additionally, implementing regulations for interacting with wildlife will help mitigate potential risks and conflicts, creating a safe environment for visitors. Lastly, specified areas for open-air fires and barbecues will promote responsible usage and minimize fire hazards.

Maintaining green spaces

The by-law review will emphasize the importance of maintaining green spaces, including sports fields, to ensure they remain in optimal condition for public use. This includes designating specific areas for sports and activities as well as regulations to protect grounds during seasonal changes like the spring thaw or other weather events. We will also consider measures that help preserve the integrity of parks and facilities, such as prohibiting motorized vehicles, and exploring solutions to prevent the disposal of garbage in parks.

Application to amenities

Visitors and residents deserve to benefit from safe and well-maintained amenities within City parks and facilities. As part of the by-law review, we are exploring strategies to encourage compliance with existing regulations. This will help us ensure amenities, like outdoor rinks and swimming pools, continue to maintain quality and safety standards.

Equal opportunity

The by-law review aims to provide equal opportunities for the public to enjoy our green spaces and recreational and cultural facilities. Currently, the City issues permits for special events to individuals and organizations to host activities that enrich our community. Through this review, City staff will review the process to make it more simple and efficient. The review will also assess and recommend areas for activities that individuals may not have the opportunity to engage in at their residence, such as barbecuing or using larger outdoor spaces.


Get engaged

Your input is an important part of the Parks and Facilities By-law review. Please complete the survey below to tell us about your experience and share your comments on the by-law. This survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and it will be available until August 2.

Your responses will be considered as part of the City’s review of the Parks and Facilities By-law, which is anticipated to be implemented in the summer of 2025. We kindly request that you answer all mandatory questions, marked with an asterisk (*), honestly and thoroughly.


The City of Ottawa proudly oversees an extensive network of parkland covering an area roughly the size of 4,300 hectares (or 8,000 football fields) across 1,300 sites, as well as more than 100 recreational and cultural facilities.

In our commitment to maintain these green spaces and recreational facilities, the City is currently undertaking a review of the Parks and Facilities By-law. This review is essential to ensure our indoor and outdoor recreational spaces continue to foster community engagement and provide opportunities for recreational and cultural activities that are inclusive, safe and accessible to all.


History of this by-law

The Parks and Facilities By-law was initially developed in 2004. Minor changes were made in a 2021 update to better meet community needs, accommodate technological advancements and ensure alignment with other updated by-laws.

City Council has now directed staff to undertake a full review, and we welcome your input. This review is intended to consider more substantive changes to the bylaw to reflect evolving community and emerging user needs, as well as updates to terminology and administrative changes.

The Parks and Facilities By-law must align with the following by-laws to avoid contradictions:

  • Animal Care and Control By-law No. 2003-077
  • E-Scooter By-law By-law No. 2002-174
  • Film By-law No. 2020-164
  • Noise By-law No. 2017-255
  • Open Air Fire By-law 2004-163
  • Smoking and Vaping By-law No. 2019-241
  • Solid Waste Management By-law No. 2019-241
  • Special Events By-law 2013-232
  • Municipal Alcohol Policy

The Parks and Facilities By-law review will not consult on topics covered under the by-laws listed above, as specific consultations have been held for these by-law reviews. This includes dogs in parks which is covered under the Animal Care and Control By-law (No. 2003-077) which explains how owners should care for and control their dogs, including where they can be on and off-leash. The City of Ottawa’s website has a dogs in parks map showing where dogs are allowed to be on and off-leash in parks.

Since smoking and vaping in parks is covered under the Smoking and Vaping (By-law No. 2019-241), this topic will not be included as part of the Parks and Facilities By-law review. The Smoking and Vaping By-law states that no person shall smoke or vape on outdoor municipal property which includes parks.


Features of the by-law

The Parks and Facilities By-law addresses a wide variety of topics to ensure indoor and outdoor recreational amenities are used for their intended purpose, are kept in good condition and contribute to the safety, accessibility and enjoyment of these spaces. In our commitment to continue serving the public, the key priorities we aim to address in the by-law through this review are outlined in the sections below.

Public safety

To ensure resident safety while using City parks and facilities, staff will define clear guidelines for access, including hours of operation. Additionally, implementing regulations for interacting with wildlife will help mitigate potential risks and conflicts, creating a safe environment for visitors. Lastly, specified areas for open-air fires and barbecues will promote responsible usage and minimize fire hazards.

Maintaining green spaces

The by-law review will emphasize the importance of maintaining green spaces, including sports fields, to ensure they remain in optimal condition for public use. This includes designating specific areas for sports and activities as well as regulations to protect grounds during seasonal changes like the spring thaw or other weather events. We will also consider measures that help preserve the integrity of parks and facilities, such as prohibiting motorized vehicles, and exploring solutions to prevent the disposal of garbage in parks.

Application to amenities

Visitors and residents deserve to benefit from safe and well-maintained amenities within City parks and facilities. As part of the by-law review, we are exploring strategies to encourage compliance with existing regulations. This will help us ensure amenities, like outdoor rinks and swimming pools, continue to maintain quality and safety standards.

Equal opportunity

The by-law review aims to provide equal opportunities for the public to enjoy our green spaces and recreational and cultural facilities. Currently, the City issues permits for special events to individuals and organizations to host activities that enrich our community. Through this review, City staff will review the process to make it more simple and efficient. The review will also assess and recommend areas for activities that individuals may not have the opportunity to engage in at their residence, such as barbecuing or using larger outdoor spaces.


Get engaged

Your input is an important part of the Parks and Facilities By-law review. Please complete the survey below to tell us about your experience and share your comments on the by-law. This survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and it will be available until August 2.

Your responses will be considered as part of the City’s review of the Parks and Facilities By-law, which is anticipated to be implemented in the summer of 2025. We kindly request that you answer all mandatory questions, marked with an asterisk (*), honestly and thoroughly.

  • The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and will gather information on various aspects related to recreational activities in Parks and Facilities.

    The survey is not meant to collect feedback on dogs in parks, as it is not related to this by-law review. The Animal Care and Control By-law outlines how dogs should be cared for and controlled in parks, and this by-law must follow those guidelines. For more information on the Dogs in Parks Designation Policy, please call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or visit the City of Ottawa website.

    This survey is anonymous, and your participation is voluntary. The City of Ottawa is committed to upholding the standards of privacy established within the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. For more information, please see Ottawa.ca/protection of privacy.

    The City of Ottawa is committed to accessibility. If you are having any difficulty accessing or completing this survey, contact the Parks & Facilities By-law project team at parksfacilitiesbylaw@ottawa.ca.

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Page last updated: 21 Jun 2024, 11:39 AM