In Canada we are very lucky to have a diverse system of national, provincial and local parks.
For Canada150, Parks Canada has offered free day-use admission to national parks. Unfortunately, provincial parks are not part of the Parks Canada initiative and visitors will still be required to pay for admission and services.
Ontario’s provincial park system relies on admission and user fees to fund the experience visitors receive when they explore these parks, and 100% of the fees that are collected go directly back into the Ontario Parks system.
For example, the small fee you pay to enjoy Algonquin Provincial Park goes directly back into funding the amenities and services — rest stations, picnic areas and kayaks — you enjoy while visiting the park.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry through Ontario Parks manages over 330 provincial parks, over 100 of which offer day use or camping opportunities, including the iconic Algonquin Provincial Park and the ever popular Pinery and Sandbanks Provincial Parks.
So before you hit the road this summer to enjoy the beautiful Ontario outdoors, double-check whether the park you are visiting is a provincial or national park.
Did you know Canada is home to many different types of parks?
Additionally, there are a variety of municipal parks, conservation areas and regional forests across Ontario.
National parks will always have one of the below symbols posted on their website and around the park entrance.
Ontario Parks will always have the provincial parks’ logo posted on our website and around the park entrance.
Where are the national parks in Ontario?
There are five* national parks (Parks Canada) in Ontario:
- Bruce Peninsula National Park
- Georgian Bay Islands National Park
- Point Pelee National Park
- Pukaskwa National Park
- Thousand Islands National Park
You can find a map of Ontario’s provincial parks (Ontario Parks) here.
Does Ontario Parks offer a seasonal day pass?
Ontario Parks’ passes (annual and seasonal permits) are available for sale in provincial parks and online. These passes offer unlimited daily vehicle entry to all of Ontario’s provincial parks.
Are Ontario Parks planning anything to celebrate Canada150?
Throughout the year, Ontario Parks will be involved in local events at our parks to help celebrate this special anniversary
From Voyageur Tours (dress up and paddle a canot du nord like it’s 1796!) to Spirit Walks, we’ve got lots of fun events in store that celebrate our Canadian heritage.
Be sure to stay tuned to our Events Calendar for other special and fun-filled events being offered at your local provincial parks this year.
Ontario Parks also offers an annual free day-use day to celebrate Healthy Parks Healthy People, a world-wide movement of the health benefits of being outdoors.
In 2017, Healthy Parks Healthy People day will be held on July 21.
“Pass” it on
We’re excited to think that many Ontarians might be getting back to nature in 2017, but we don’t want their first trip to include frustration.
We’d hate for them to plan a wonderful day outside, or line up at one of our busiest parks only to find out that their free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass isn’t accepted at provincial parks.
So please: take the time to share this post and remind your friends and family that the free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Passes are used only at national parks.