Toronto

'Real gem': Warm, sunny Sunday in forecast for Toronto as residents told to avoid crowds

Environment Canada says a warm, sunny Sunday is in store for Toronto and it will be challenging for residents to engage in physical distancing as the temperature finally climbs.

Waterfront BIA, meanwhile, urges residents to avoid peak hours to 'flatten the visitor curve'

A woman rides her bicycle past fenced off cherry blossoms at a park during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Friday. Health officials and the government have asked that people stay inside to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Environment Canada says a warm, sunny Sunday is in store for Toronto and it will be challenging for residents to engage in physical distancing as the temperature finally climbs.

Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, says the forecast is calling for a high of 22 C on Sunday, which he said will be a "real gem" of a day. This weekend will be the warmest in the city in seven months, he added.

Phillips said on Saturday that April was cooler than normal and a disappointing month in terms of weather. In the last week alone, six out seven days had precipitation and cool temperatures.

"April was certainly kind of cruel to Torontonians. We saw temperatures that were cooler than normal by more than a degree and more wet days than dry days," he said.

This weekend, in comparison, is predicted to be gorgeous, he said. The temperatures will be warmer than normal and Sunday will feel like a real spring day.

"It's going to be a one-day wonder tomorrow," he said.

"I think the real challenge for people in the Toronto area today and particularly tomorrow is to probably physically distance oneself. It's going to be seductive, getting out there and enjoying the sunshine and the warmth and dryness, and smell the greenery and to walk about," Phillips said.

"It's going to be delightful. It's going to be absolutely great, a real winner of a day."

Phillips said people should enjoy Sunday because temperatures are expected to drop for the first two weeks of May. He said Mother's Day weekend is forecast to be "not too pleasant" at all.

The cooler than normal April this year probably made it easier to distance physically than it would have been if the month had been warmer, he added.

The temperature on Saturday was forecast to be 18 C, with a 60 per cent chance of showers in the evening. The normal high for this time of the year is around 16 C.

Seagulls engage in physical distancing on Toronto's waterfront. The Waterfront BIA is urging people to stay home this weekend, but is urging them to come outside of peak hours if they must visit the downtown area near Lake Ontario. (Lisa Xing/CBC)

BIA wants to 'flatten the visitor curve'

As the weather begins to warm, Toronto's Waterfront BIA says it wants to "flatten the visitor curve" and it's urging residents who insist on visiting the downtown area near Lake Ontario to come when they're least likely to encounter crowds.

Tim Kocur, executive director of the Waterfront BIA, said it's best if people stay home and follow the directives of Toronto Public Health. But if they must visit the waterfront, they should do so during non-peak hours, he said.

That means before 11 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

"The water is always a popular destination for people who want to get out and enjoy the warm weather," Kocur said in a news release on Friday.

"But public health is paramount right now. We encourage everyone to stay at home or visit during non-peak hours if you do choose to visit the waterfront this weekend."

The BIA, which represents businesses along  the Queens Quay corridor between Bathurst and Yonge Streets, has been charting the number of visitors to the downtown waterfront area and produced its own curve.

The chart above shows visitors on Saturday, April 25 at York Street and Queens Quay West. (Waterfront BIA)

Kocur said the BIA would like to flatten this curve shown in the graph above.

"Visits before 11 a.m. or after 6 p.m. are encouraged to avoid crowding and to ensure physical distancing," he said.

The BIA says activities include representing the area on policy and advocacy issues, making business improvements and highlighting the area's vibrancy through online promotion.

The city of Toronto, meanwhile, has set up a "Bloom Cam" in High Park to allow residents to view the cherry blossoms virtually. High Park was closed on Thursday to prevent people from congregating there to see the tiny pink flowers.

Medical officer says limit your outings

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, acknowledged on Friday that physical distancing will be a challenge this weekend but urged residents to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"While I know we will all want to be outside, what continues to be best for our community is to stay home as much as possible and to continue practising physical distancing," she told reporters at a daily news briefing at city hall.

"This doesn't mean you can't go outside at all. What I'm asking is for you to limit your outings and to make sure you are being careful about practising physical distancing when you do go outside. This is the best way to protect yourself and everyone around you."

People take photographs of fenced off cherry blossoms at a park during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Friday. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

With files from Muriel Draaisma, Talia Ricci

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