The surprising, shocking, startling, astonishing story of Silver Islet

Today’s post comes from Will Oades, Natural Heritage Educator at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Header photo: Jeff Robinson.

Have you ever applied for a job, shown up on the first day of work, and realized it was nothing like you thought it would be? That was the case among many of the men coming to work at the Silver Islet Mine.

Known as the world’s richest silver mine, Silver Islet’s mine shaft was beneath the icy waters of Lake Superior; a small yet significant piece of information that was missed by some of the miners before arriving. Though the majority of the miners stayed to do the job that they were hired for, some of them decided that travelling into the belly of the earth, underneath billions of litres of water was just a little too dangerous for their liking.

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Paddle like it’s 1796 at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park!

Experience the life of a voyageur at the height of the fur trade by paddling a voyageur canoe on the beautiful Mattawa River.

Our knowledgeable guides will help you discover part of our Canadian heritage.

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Neys’ relics from the past

Today’s post comes from Katherine Muzyliwsky, a Natural Heritage Education Student at Neys Provincial Park.

Before Neys became a provincial park, it was known as Neys Camp 100. Instead of happy campers on vacation, the park held German prisoners of war during World War II.

After operating as a prisoner of war camp from 1941-1946, the buildings were dismantled in 1953. Since then, artifacts have showed up from discoveries in the park and from generous donations.

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Forever protected: why Petawawa Terrace belongs

Our “Forever protected” series shares why each and every one belongs in Ontario Parks. Our great system of protected areas is based upon a model of representation. In today’s post, Biologist Lauren Trute tells us Petawawa Terrace’s story.

For many families in the area, Petawawa Terrace Provincial Park is literally a park in their backyard.

Unlike many provincial parks in Ontario, Petawawa Terrace is not pristine wilderness. Locally known as the “fish hatchery park,” the 215 ha park is located in the heart of the Town of Petawawa.

This little parcel of protected land belongs in the Ontario Parks system because it gives us a glimpse into Ontario’s history, and represents provincially significant ecosystems and species.

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Temagami: an ancient canoe country

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education and Marketing Specialist Dave Sproule.

It’s a rugged, time-worn landscape. A fractured piece of the Canadian Shield, with fault lines criss-crossing the roots of ancient mountains for hundreds of kilometres. More than 2,500 lakes fill those fault lines, and at over 600,000 hectares, it’s almost as large as Algonquin Provincial Park.

Is it any wonder so many paddlers lose their hearts to Temagami?

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The Northern Lights

Seeing the magnificent Northern Lights is a bucket list item for any nature lover.

But did you know that the Northern Lights are caused by charged particles from the Sun?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is the name given to an often-ethereal band or curtain of faint light seen towards the northern horizon. Generally, the light is so faint that the light pollution of even a small town can wash it out.

However, in the dark skies of many of our provincial parks, the Northern Lights can be spectacular.

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“Gathering” at Rondeau

Today’s post comes from Jess Matthews, a Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Rondeau Provincial Park.

About a year ago, we looked at a well-loved, yet aging display in the Rondeau Visitor Centre.

Hundreds of visitors learned from it over the years, but it was becoming faded and worn — it was time for a change.

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The beaver: architect of biodiversity

Today, we join Natural Heritage Education Specialist Dave Sproule for a chat about the ecological and cultural significance of the beaver, which became Canada’s official symbol in 1975.

We all know beavers are industrious. They builds dams, canals and sturdy homes called lodges, which are warm in winter. They repair all those dams and collect enough food to survive long northern winters.

We know beavers are well-suited to the Canadian environment. Beavers are amphibious – more at home in the water than on land — with webbed hind feet, nostrils that can close, a third see-through eyelid that protects the eye when they’re underwater, and a big flat tail that acts as rudder while swimming.

The biggest reason to celebrate the beaver, however, is that the beaver built Canada, shaping both its historical and ecological landscape.

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Pimachiowin Aki: a journey

Today’s post was written by Doug Gilmore, a recently retired superintendent of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. The post commemorates the designation of Pimachiowin Aki as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

A journey can be defined as “the act of travelling from one place to another.” With every accomplishment there is often a journey, and the inscription of Pimachiowin Aki (Pi-MATCH-o-win Ah-KAY) as an UNESCO World Heritage Site was no exception.

Journeys also often include twists and turns and, most importantly, learning as you travel.

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