Safe Return to Play

The City of Hamilton welcomes the community back to our City-run recreation programs and recreation facilities. We understand that returning to recreation activities may be a difficult decision for some.

As part of a coordinated strategy to gradually, slowly and safely reopen municipal facilities and restart City services and programs, the City of Hamilton has developed detailed health and safety guidelines for various work environments, including Recreation Centres and Arenas.

COVID cleaning, spray bottle


  • Employees trained on proper use of cleaning and disinfectant products
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and program spaces
  • Ensure high- touch areas like doors, door handles, and shared equipment are cleaned regularly

Physical Distancing

  • Facility staff and program instructors maintaining at least 2m or 6ft of physical distance
  • Use of signage to direct traffic flow
  • Barriers in place at counters where the public has access
  • Reduced capacities in all program spaces to ensure physical distancing
  • Reservation system implemented for popular programs or programs with a reduced capacity
  • Time spacing between programs, rentals and services to allow for groups to enter/exit separately
  • Modified games, activities, or play to maintain 2m or 6ft of physical distance between participants not in the same social circle

Stop the Spread

  • Encourage employees and visitors to practice good hand hygiene
  • Provide soap at all sinks and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap is not available
  • Participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment
  • Stay at home if you are sick


Health Screening

  • Posted signage for participant health screening
  • Health screening for everyone entering facilities
  • Enhanced health screening for all participants entering program spaces


  • A mask or face covering will be required in enclosed public spaces
  • Masks may only be removed while actively participating in fitness, swimming, or physical activity, and must be worn in changerooms or other common areas


  • Signage to communicate expectations to participate in programs and use facilities/amenities

Frequently Asked Questions

To further assist families with decision making we have provided the following answers to some frequently asked questions:

Facility Related

Use our Program Finder to find both registered and drop in programs. 

  • Select “Courses and Lessons” in the left-hand tool bar for registered programs
  • Select “Drop In Programs” for all other offerings

Wearing a mask or face covering will be required in enclosed public spaces under City of Hamilton By-Law 20-155. The mask or face covering should cover your nose, mouth and chin, without gapping. Wearing a mask or face covering is an additional measure we can take to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and keep each other safe.

All patrons/visitors to enclosed recreation facilities are required to wear a mask or face covering, unless exempted under the bylaw.  Masks may be removed while actively participating in fitness or physical activity, however must be worn in all common areas including pool decks, changerooms, and hallways.  

As per the Province of Ontario, those above age 65 years of age, those with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions should self-isolate. This means only leaving home or seeing other people for essential reasons. Older adults and those with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised) are at higher risk of becoming ill.

We recognize, that for many seniors or individuals, accessing their recreation facility or participating in physical activity is essential to their health and well-being. We ask that all participants follow all expectations posted and staff direction to ensure a safe environment for all. If you require an accommodation to access a recreation facility, need information on seniors or adapted programming, or would like information on less busy facilities/pools, please contact our customer service team.  

Spectators and non-participants are not permitted within the program space or pool deck (parents required for participation or support workers assisting participants are considered participants and are allowed in the program space). Limited alternative viewing areas may be available at some locations and may be used if 2m or 6ft of physical distance can be maintained. Please do not gather around doorways to view programs.

Changerooms and showers will be open, however lockers or amenities available may be reduced. Please only bring what you need for your swim and arrive promptly at your program time to avoid changeroom congestion.

Some sites will use alternate waiting areas for classes/programs waiting to start. Please follow all signage or directions as posted at your facility.

Depending on the type of program you wish to participate in you may be required to register or make an online reservation:

  • Drop in programs with an “Open” designation may be accessed at the facility directly during the scheduled program times. 
  • Programs with limited capacity, including length swimming, water fit, pickleball and badminton will require an online reservation using the Program Finder to secure a space.  Reservation and viewing for these programs will be available online 24hrs prior to the scheduled activity start date. 
  • Swim Lessons and courses continue to require registration online beginning on the scheduled registration date for the facility.

The City’s inclusive programming (support program and adapted programs) are currently being reviewed with plans for reopening with enhanced health and safety measures in the future.

Families are welcome to provide their own support staff who can provide hands-on or close assistance within 2m or 6ft) of the participant. If you need assistance accessing a program or would like to discuss program/facilities please contact the inclusion team at [email protected]

Registered Programs

City facilities and programs are being reopened in a gradual, slow and safe manner, as per Hamilton Reopens, the City’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

As part of this phased approach, some programs will not be offered during Fall 2020 either because of Provincial regulations/guidelines or further planning/protocols were required for safe implementation. The following programs will not be offered, however will be reconsidered for future programming sessions:

  • Kitchen/cooking programs
  • Preschool playgroups (1.5 hour programs)
  • Socials, events, or potlucks
  • Singing/drama programs
  • Programs with equipment that cannot be disinfected between users (tumbling, some fitness programs)
  • Programs where instruction is difficult distanced (gymnastics)

As part of our phased approach, the following programs will be modified during Fall 2020 to require direct parent participation in program either because of Provincial regulations/guidelines or further planning/protocols were required for safe implementation.

Programs for 3-5 years and Swimmer 1/2 will require a caregiver to physically participate in the program with each participant (i.e. Swimmer 1 in the water)

  • Splash Program (all levels) *must be in water
  • Swimmer 1 *must be in water
  • Swimmer 2 *must be in water
  • Exploring Art
  • Exploring Movement
  • Exploring Science
  • Sports Blast (3-5 yrs)

Recreation programs have always strived to maintain low staff: participants ratios to ensure quality instruction. However, all program spaces have been measured for reduced capacities to ensure distance can be maintained, and where required, class sizes may be further reduced.

We are anticipating a slow return of users to our facilities and programs. Additionally, Recreation staff will be following requirements for reduced capacities and enhanced disinfecting between programs/users. As a result, operating hours and number of programs offered at a facility may be reduced.

Recreation staff will be closely monitoring registration and waitlist demands and may be able to add additional programming where demonstrated need exists.

Please refer to our current refund policy to determine if you are eligible for a refund for your registered program offering.

Registration for programs with available spots will be ongoing after the scheduled registration date. Winter 2020 registration dates will be determined and communicated in November. To receive email communication and updates from the Recreation Division update your communication preferences by logging in to your account and updating your profile in the Program Finder.

Drop In Programs

Drop in programs can now be viewed in real time using the Program Finder and selecting “Drop In Programs”.  Alternatively, a complete drop in schedule in PDF form is available for view or print within the Locations tab for each facility.

Some of our drop in programs have very limited space available or have experienced high demand in the past. In order to prevent line ups at the facility and to avoid disappointment upon arrival a reservation using the Program Finder is required.

Drop in programs not containing the word “Open” in the activity name will require reservation.  Currently Lengths Swim, Water Fit, Pickleball and Badminton require a reservation in advance.  Programs will be available for reservation 24 hours in advance.

Due to the limited availability of these programs viewing and reservation will only be made available 24 hours in advance.

Where a drop in program tile indicates “0 out of 0 capacity remaining”, the course is not available for online booking or reservation, there is “0” capacity in the online environment.  These programs are only available through in person admission during the scheduled time.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment to programs when required (including racquets, Personal Flotation Devices, float belts, balls). Limited equipment may be available at the facility and will be disinfected between users.

If a program time is full, individuals may choose to wait if space permits. Please follow all signage for designated waiting areas. Space in programs is limited. If available for a program, we request that patrons make a reservation before attending the facility. 


I have a question that hasn’t been answered who can I speak with?

Please contact our customer service staff directly.
Phone:  905-546-3747
Email:  [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you at the centres!