CAO Bookings

UPDATE. As of 26 December 2020, CAO is closed until further notice.

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. 

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

Note that during the current re-open plan, a 72-hour vacancy period is required between in-house bookings both upstairs and downstairs. Note that these are considered separate spaces and there is no 72 rule between upstairs and downstairs.

COVID-19 restrictions:

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 2Beased will be the first re-open stage and will feature the following:

●     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 12 bookings and up to 24 members.

·        1 member/family upstairs, with access to the upstairs washroom, bedrooms, and kitchen. Access to the stairs and the downstairs is not permitted to these members.

·        1 member/family downstairs, with access to the downstairs washroom and (new!) satellite kitchenette. These members ARE NOW permitted to sleep in the house. Access to the staris and upstairs is not permitted to these members.

·        1 to 12 member(s)/families bookings of “day” use (not staying overnight), Independent Campers, RV or tent. Access to the house and facilities (both upstairs and downstairs) is not permitted to these members. Independent Campers are those who make no use of CAO facilities except for BBQ, power connection, and outside water temporary connection. Toilet must be a port-a-potty that you bring for use in your tent, or a toilet in your RV. Access to the house and facilities (both upstairs and downstairs, including washrooms and kitchens) is not permitted to these members. Of particular note for increased number of attendees at CAO who may NOT use the indoor facilities, the following clarifications are provided. Defecation at the CAO is strictly controlled. Only registered users for the house may use their respective toilets. ALL OTHER CAO USERS must use RV facilities, port-a-potties, or other containment bucket system to contain all human waste. In this case, members must remove all waste from the site at the end of their stay. All lavatory use as described above must be made when not in view of other members.


·        Portable on-site loaner telescopes are not permitted to be used in this time frame.

·         The GBO or SLO observatories may be used by a qualified operator, one person 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 Calender

§  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