CAO Bookings

UPDATE. These pages updated on 16 January 2022.

The E.C. Carr Astronomical Observatory provides Toronto Centre Members with a fully equipped observing facility that offers clear dark skies, excellent accommodations, a 16" Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope for visual astronomy, a guided 8" RC Telescope for astrophotography, red-lit warm rooms, as well as a sheltered facilities where members can operate their own equipment if they so choose.

CAO is normally a communal living facility where people live together and share the responsibilities of the upkeep of the house and the property. However, access to all indoor areas has been modified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All persons visiting or staying at the CAO MUST abide by communal living rules as set out below.




 The Carr Astronomical Observatory (CAO) requires that all members and their immediate family visiting the facility be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 whether it be for in-house, camping or day use visits.  “Fully vaccinated” means you have received a minimum of two doses of a Government of Canada approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen) and your second dose was a minimum of 14 days ago.  At this time, exemptions will only be granted for children under 5 years of age or those individuals with medical exemptions provided by their physician.

 Once a CAO Booking Request has been submitted, the CAO Bookings Co-ordinator will set up a Zoom call with the member to verify the vaccination documents for all individuals who plan on visiting the CAO.  This can be in the form of a vaccine passport on your cell phone or a printed certificate (with QR code) either of which are to be held up to the member’s camera during the Zoom call in a readable manner for the CAO Bookings Co-ordinator.  Government issued photo ID will not be required.

Please note that members and their immediate family will only have to show their vaccine documentation for their first booking.  We will not be asking members and their immediate family to do this with each successive booking.  The RASC Toronto Centre will not use, share, keep or disclose any of the information provided on the Zoom calls except to record that the member’s vaccination status has been verified.

 Proof of vaccination is required before a CAO Booking Request will be confirmed. 

 We thank you for your cooperation as we continue to protect the health and safety of our members and their families who visit the CAO.

 COVID-19 restrictions: See the CAO COVID-19 Procedures.

CAO will be re-opened in stages, following the lead of the Province of Ontario. Members will be required to agree to a waiver that releases RASC-TC of any and all liability from any consequence to any member or family member from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an Attestation of Health immediately prior to travel to CAO. ALL DOCUMENTS ARE LOCATED IN CAO COVID-19 PANDEMIC.

Stage 2A will be the first re-open stage and will feature the following conditions:

  • Access to CAO facilities by member(s)/families only in a non-communal fashion, where no piece of equipment is shared on the inside of the house, nor inside the member accessible observatories. Total site occupancy is limited to 10 bookings and up to 25 individuals at the present level of Provincial allowance.
  • 1 member/family upstairs, with sole access to the upstairs washroom, bedrooms, and kitchen. Access to the stairs and the downstairs is not permitted to these members. Note that during the current re-open plan, a 1-hour vacancy period is required between main floor in-house bookings.
  • 1 to 25 member(s)/families bookings of “day” use (not staying overnight), or Independent Campers, or RV or using tents.
  • Shared access by these users of the downstairs washroom facilities only is permitted, with specified cleaning procedures between users of different families. Users must wear masks in coming and going and set exhaust fan to run. Access to the upstairs house and facilities is not permitted to these members.
  • The downstairs kitchenette is not available at present but will be soon once improvements are completed in the basement. An exception to this rule is that the basement mini refrigerator may be used by campers only if their foodstuffs are bagged, and the bag is sanitized before placement inside the refrigerator.
  • Portable on-site loaner telescopes are permitted to be used at this time providing that they are appropriately sanitized after use.
  • The GBO or SLO observatories may be used by a qualified operator, one person/family per night and fully cleaned and disinfected after each use. Note that only alcohol-based cleaners should be used on eyepieces and telescope equipment.
  • Observing pad and THO use is permitted with physical distancing and mandatory wearing of a mask if other members are present. Obey the physical distancing markings on the observing pad, 4 telescopes maximum.
  • Lawn-based observing more than 10m from the observing pad is permitted without a mask.

Note that short duration access through the house for security alarm, water system, and access to emergency equipment such as fire and first aid equipment is permitted by all who attend. Please wear a mask if you must enter another’s living space.

  1. Guests of members (except for immediate family) are not permitted.
  2. Remove footwear upon entering the house.
  3. Smoking is not permitted inside any of the buildings.
  4. Pets are not permitted in the house.
  5. Additional cleaning requirements will be necessary for the duration of the pandemic. Details may be found in the CAO COVID-19 Procedures tab.
  6. For the duration of the pandemic, ALL spices, cooking oil/vinegars, coffee, tea, hot chocolate as well as condiments on the fridge door for everyone will NOT be available. Members must not leave any personal items, including food, at CAO.
  7. For the duration of the pandemic, all communal garbage receptacles (organic, recycling or landfill) are CLOSED. Members will be required to keep waste in a bag and remove all waste and recycling at the end of their stay.
  8. Be respectful of noise levels at night when others have gone to bed, and in the morning when others are still sleeping. Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  9. Prior to your departure, you must clean the CAO facilities you occupied per the COVID-19 pandemic cleaning instructions.
  10. Take all of your leftover food in the fridge/freezer/table home with you.

Remember that you must bring all of your own supply of food, drinks, personal toiletries, kitchen washcloths and dish towels, bedding, pillow and towels. Cleaners and disinfectants including sponges and rags are available on-site.

If a member has never previously stayed overnight at the CAO, then her/his first overnight visit to CAO must be during a period when the facility is staffed by either a CAO supervisor or another qualified member who is able and willing to take responsibility for the safety and security of the facility and its occupants. In order for a member to get a key and independent access to the CAO for a subsequent visit when it is not staffed by a CAO supervisor, the member must first have received personal instruction from a CAO supervisor on the proper procedures for opening/closing the house, operation of the furnace, water system and other safety items.


 To access the following members only sub-categories, please click on this link (you will need your National RASC website login information):

§  CAO Calendar

§  CAO Bookings Form. Once you have submitted a form, look for an automated email response regarding your pending reservation. Later, you will receive a confirmation of your reservation from the CAO bookings coordinator.

§  Buy Annual CAO Pass

§  CAO Covid-19 Procedures/Waiver & Attestation Documents

§  CAO Usage Policy

§  CAO Directions

§  SLO Requirements

§  SLO Documents

§  SLO Calendar