The makings and teachings of the birchbark canoe

Chuck Commanda grew up part of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, an Algonquin First Nation. As a young boy, he helped his grandparents make birchbark canoes. Now, years later, Chuck enjoys sharing his knowledge and showcasing his skills to the public.

Chuck recently attended the “Politics of the Canoe” workshop in Winnipeg, where he says much of the discussion focused on reconciliation through the canoe.

“The canoe is a shared experience that all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can relate to. That makes it an effective tool for reconciliation.”

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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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The beaver: architect of biodiversity

Ontario Parks is recognizing iconic Canadian species this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Next up, 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 during Canada150, however, is that the beaver built Canada, shaping both its historical and ecological landscape.

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Voices of the river: exploring the French River Visitor Centre

Today’s post comes from Dave Sproule, a Natural Heritage Education Specialist in our Northeast Zone. 

Can you hear the water speak?  The waters of the French River have many voices.

These voices travelled the river and lived along its shores. The French River has been a conduit for people, goods, and culture for thousands of years. The voices of the river are celebrated at the spectacular French River Visitor Centre.

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November’s digital download

This month’s FREE digital wallpaper evokes Lake Superior’s “gales of November.”

Thousands of boats, ships and canoes have been claimed by Lake Superior over the centuries; the Edmund Fitzgerald is simply the most famous.

This photo was snapped on the northern shores of Lake Superior at Neys Provincial Park. If you’re a history buff, consider a 2018 visit to explore Ney’s rich cultural heritage. Explore the remains of POW Camp 100, or stop by the visitor centre (open July/August), which displays an artifact from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

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