Canada’s Wonderland is opening its gates to the general public this morning for the first time in nearly two years as amusement and water parks get the green light to resume operations as part of Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan.

The Vaughan, Ont. amusement park shut down for the season in December 2019 and remained closed for the 19 months that followed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now as vaccination rates rise and case counts fall in the province, Canada’s Wonderland is reopening today with a 25 per cent capacity limit.

“We were really happy to be included in Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan,” Grace Peacock, director of communications for Canada’s Wonderland, told CP24 on Wednesday morning.

“We had a bit of a shortened window to work with to get the park up and ready. We have ride maintenance that we needed to do, hiring, landscaping, but as well we're preparing for these new safety protocols so the park experience is going to be a little different.”

Everyone who comes to the park must first book a reservation and there are signs notifying people of physical distancing rules. Masks must be worn on most rides, in all indoor spaces, and in other areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Peacock noted that some of the new rules may result in longer wait times for some of the rides.

“On coasters, for example, because we have to have that physical distance, we're not running them at full capacity as well our crews are pausing routinely to do the cleaning of the high touch surface areas on the rides,” she said.

“So those two factors may add to some longer wait times, depending on how many guests are in line.”

About 3,000 seasonal staff have been recalled for this week’s reopening, Peacock added.

Canada’s Wonderland season pass holders got a sneak preview earlier this week and Peacock said staff were happy to see guests back enjoying the park.

“This has been a great week for all of us… just seeing the guests come into the park. The people that I spoke with were so thrilled to be here, to be back to doing some amusement park fun and getting out of the house,” she said.

“We're excited to welcome back all of our guests today for the general public.”