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Statement from Minister Elliott and Minister MacLeod on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Statement from Minister Elliott and Minister MacLeod on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, issued the following statement in response to the impact of COVID-19 on Ontario's attraction agencies and convention centres:

"The Government of Ontario's top priority will always be the health and well-being of Ontarians. To help contain the spread of COVID-19, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, has recommended the immediate suspension of all gatherings over 250 people because of this pandemic.

Ontario's attraction agencies and convention centres will be responding to this recommendation and will be taking appropriate measures for their unique properties. This includes:

  • Ontario Science Centre
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Ottawa Convention Centre (Shaw Centre)
  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre
  • Science North
  • Niagara Parks Commission
  • St. Lawrence Parks Commission
  • McMichael Canadian Art Gallery
  • Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Ontario Place Corporation
  • Ontario Heritage Trust

Each agency will provide updates on how they plan to respond to this new development. The Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries will continue to provide updates to the sector and the public as the situation evolves.

Our priority is the health and safety of all residents, visitors and staff across the province. We want to thank all of the employers, community partners and frontline workers who are actively working to address this challenge and keep everyone safe and healthy."

Additional Resources

  • Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
  • Learn about travel advisories related to the 2019 novel coronavirus.
  • If you are a health care professional, learn how to protect yourself and your patients by reading our guidance documents.


“The health and safety of MTCC’s visitors and staff remains our highest priority. MTCC communicates regularly with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries on the latest developments of COVID-19 and will relay any relevant information as it transpires on our website. We are aligned and will follow the directions and recommendations from provincial officials and Canadian health authorities for the safety and well-being of all.”

Lorenz Hassenstein

President and CEO, Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC)

“We have been working closely with many of our clients over the past 24 hours and will continue to do so moving forward. Our team will also continue communication with those clients who have less than 250 attendees to assure them that their safety and well-being, as well as that of our guests and colleagues, remains our number one priority. As such, we will continue to take all the necessary precautions as directed by the appropriate health authorities.”

Nina Kressler

President and CEO, Ottawa Convention Centre (Shaw Centre)

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our visitors, community and staff. Ontario Science Centre exhibits and programs are designed to be fun and hands-on, and draw large crowds, especially during March Break when we see thousands of visitors a day. Given the highly interactive nature of our experiences, we have decided to close temporarily to protect the health and safety of our staff and visitors and do our part to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.”

Catherine Paisley

CEO, Ontario Science Centre

“SLPC sites are currently closed for the season and scheduled to open in early May 2020. SLPC has implemented additional measures to ensure the safety of the public and our team and are currently working on modified programming.”

Hollee Kew

General Manager and CEO, St. Lawrence Parks Commission (SLPC)

“All of our attractions will close today at 5:00 p.m. As this situation is continuously evolving, we will ensure we communicate with our visitors and stakeholders with ongoing updates. We apologize for the disruption this may cause and look forward to welcoming audiences when we reopen.”

Guy Labine

CEO, Science North

“Niagara Parks supports the Government of Ontario’s priority on ensuring the health of Ontarians and visitors to the province. We are continually assessing our operations and guest services to safeguard the public’s well-being and will be providing updates as the situation with COVID-19 evolves.”

David Adames

CEO, Niagara Parks Commission

“The Cinesphere will be closed, effective this evening, and will remain closed until April 5. We will be providing regular updates to the public on the Ontario Place website. The grounds of Ontario Place will remain open.”

Nancy Rowland

General Manager, Ontario Place Corporation

“In response to the rapidly evolving situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and in consultation with the MHTSCI and the Ministry of Health, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will be closing to the public as of March 14, 2020. We are planning to reopen April 7. While we’re deeply sorry to disappoint our visitors, the health of the broader community must be our primary concern. We will be monitoring the situation on a daily basis and look forward to reopening soon. Please check our website for updates.”

Ian Dejardin

Executive Director, McMichael Canadian Art Collection

“In light of today’s announcement from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, we will be closing the ROM to the public, effective today at 5:30 p.m. The health and safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers is of utmost importance in these challenging times. We anticipate remaining closed to the public through to April 5, but will continue to take guidance from our public health officials regarding the duration of this closure.”

Josh Basseches

Director and CEO, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

“Given today’s directive issued by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the AGO will be closed to the public effective at end of business day today. The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and the public is our utmost priority and we feel strongly that we need to do our part to help curtail this pandemic.”

Stephan Jost

Director and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

“As an arts rental venue, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre is keeping producers of upcoming programming informed of COVID-19 developments in Toronto. All postponed or cancelled programming will be communicated directly to impacted ticketholders and stakeholders.”

Beth Hanna

CEO, Ontario Heritage Trust

“Royal Botanical Gardens is taking precautions and will be closed as of 6:00 p.m. today through until April 6. This includes all private events, programming, public events, gardens and natural areas. We apologize for the inconvenience. The safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers is of the utmost importance to Royal Botanical Gardens. We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and will provide further updates as they become available.”

Mark Runciman

CEO, Royal Botanical Gardens

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