Guess how many types of bee call Ontario home?

When we think of bees, we often picture Honey Bees. We imagine a swarm buzzing around a honeycomb hive.

But the Honey Bee is just one of 400 different types of bees in Ontario (and we’re discovering new bee species all the time!).

And Honey Bees aren’t even a native species.

In fact, Honey Bees are relatively new to Ontario. They were an agricultural import, brought to North America for honey production and crop pollination. Before Honey Bees crossed the ocean, Ontario’s major pollinators were native bees, whose behaviour is often very different from the stereotypical honey bees.

Here are five other types of bees buzzing around our parks:

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Orchids of the north: the life of the Pink Lady’s Slipper

When you hear the name “orchid,” you may automatically think of some bizarre or fantastically coloured flower from some remote and steamy tropical jungle.

But not all orchids hail from tropic climes.

If you’ve taken a hike in the woods in many of our provincial parks you’ve probably seen some native orchids.

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Making a weekend of the Killarney Spring Loon Count

Killarney Provincial Park is home to the sparkling white La Cloche Mountains, verdant green forests and brilliant blue lakes.  Visitors come to hike, paddle and camp in these beautiful surroundings.

Killarney is also a hotspot for “citizen science.” The park invites visitors to help them count things like butterflies, winter birds and that iconic northern bird with its haunting call, the Common Loon.

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Up close and personal: macro photography tips

Macro photography exposes you to a whole new world.

Macro photography zooms in extremely close to its subject, making it appear bigger than it actually is. You may never notice the beauty and strangeness of a creature until you examine it up close.

Focusing your attention on new photographic subjects also lets you experience your favourite park in a brand-new way.

Instead of walking the same trail down to the same lake, you start noticing new details. You may discover a weird and magical collection of fungi on a rotting log beside the trail, or that jewel-like damselflies like to sun themselves on the cattails by the lake shore.

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Campsite vacancy highlights: May 17-20

It’s not too late to book a campsite for the Victoria Day long weekend!

While many parks are filling up, lots of campgrounds still have a good selection of sites available.

Scout out your ideal campsite on our Campsite Browsing/Reservation tool (including pictures of most campsites!), or check out these featured campsites (available as of noon, May 16):

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Park ranger wisdom: 6 tips for greener camping

This post was written by David LeGros, a park naturalist at Ontario Parks.

One of the big draws to camping is the chance to get back to nature and experience the beauty it has to offer.

The sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, towering pines and singing birds really connect us to the place — we get to see nature behave naturally. Our part of the deal should to make as little impact on that landscape as possible.

There are a few common camping habits that are not good for the local landscape, or the planet in general.

Here are six park ranger tips for greener camping.

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Campfire Breakfast Oats with Baked Apple

In 2017, we joined forces with the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and Butternut Productions to create some “tasty” new videos with some Feast On chefs (Feast On recognizes businesses committed to sourcing Ontario grown/made food and drink).

Breakfast will never be the same again.

We woke up early for our Presqu’ile Provincial Park breakfast date with Lisa and Cassandra of Earth+City. And was it ever worth it!

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Spring flooding at Ontario Parks

Due to this spring’s high water levels, many provincial parks are experiencing flooding, which may delay their opening, or close their trails and campgrounds. We’re maintaining an up-to-date list of parks affected by flooding in this post.

Our staff are working hard to help our parks dry out and re-open for visitors. Take a look at what we’re contending with this spring:

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