5 kid friendly signs of spring

Today’s post comes from MacGregor Point Provincial Park, courtesy of Natural Heritage Education Leader Matt Cunliffe.

Longer days give back extra hours of outdoor play and provide the perfect opportunity to explore our trails with the kids.

So don some comfy clothes and head to your favourite park (Bonus: spring involves far less work for getting the young ones ready for a hike!).

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IBAs of Ontario Parks: tundra swans and spring songbirds

This installment of our 2017 blog series IBAs in provincial parks — brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada —focuses on the spring migrations at two of our southwestern parks.

On my recent trip to Rondeau Provincial Park / IBA for the Wings of Spring festival and the Port Franks Forested Dunes IBA (close to Pinery Provincial Park), one thing was clear…

…tundra swans make a big impression.

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5 tips for perfectly grilled campfire grub

Nothing beats the rich, smoky flavour of campfire cooking. Grills are simple to use and allow you to cook a variety of food at once, including faves like steak, burgers, and corn on the cob.

But too often we hear tales of campfire woe, from the classic charred veggies/cold meat conundrum to the tear-inducing “my steak fell into the fire” tragedy.

Fear not, would-be grillmasters: these 5 tips will have you whipping up the perfect fire-grilled meal in no time.

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Ontario’s trilliums and where to enjoy them

Ontario Parks is recognizing iconic Canadian species this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Today’s post comes from Assistant Zone Ecologist Pilar Manorome.

Spring is probably my favourite season as it brings new life to our parks in the form of migrating birds and emerging spring ephemerals, giving our forests’ their long awaited pops of vibrant colours and contrast. One of our visitors’ favourite sights is Ontario’s provincial flower, the White Trillium, as their blooms blanket the forest floor.

Most people know of the White Trillium — also referred to as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium — as Ontario’s provincial flower. This is the flower featured on many of our provincial documents, from health cards to driver’s licenses.

Here are the top five fun facts about this iconic Ontario species:

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Lake monsters in Ontario Parks

Today’s post comes from Roger LaFontaine, park naturalist, classically trained biologist and amateur lake monster researcher. He has spent nearly two decades researching and documenting the occurrence of mysterious creatures in Ontario.

We think that we know our lakes and rivers well, but, in reality, we have barely scratched the surface. Unknown to us, the real action may be happening beneath the surface.

Ontario is home to some of the deepest and largest lakes in the world, and many campers and local communities tell stories of strange things seen in their waters. Tales are told of large creatures that can cause rough waters and storms.

But what do we really know about lake monsters?

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5 backcountry gems of Southeastern Ontario

Ontario’s wilderness is a lot closer than you think.

Did you know you can leave downtown Toronto and be paddling out to your campsite in less than 3 hours?

These five southeastern parks are perfect for finding backcountry solitude close to home:

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Are you ready for the Northwest Wilderness Quest?

Do you dream of paddling the vast wilderness of Northwestern Ontario, gliding past moose, caribou and wolves? Can you hear the gentle sound of your paddle smoothly caressing endless lakes and rivers, drops of water slowly tumbling off the tip of your blade? Does the scent of pine and spruce forests invite fond memories of past backcountry canoe trips and inspire dreams of future adventures?

Just picture it. This is the Northwest Wilderness Quest.

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Why kayaks are an awesome way to fish Ontario Parks

In today’s post, Scott Gardner, Associate Editor of  Outdoor Canada, shares his love for and experience with kayak fishing. All photos below are copyright to Scott Gardner.

On a cloudless summer afternoon, I paddled around a point on Six Mile Lake, eased my boat through a jumble of boulders, and slipped into a long shallow bay. No more than 18 inches deep and blanketed in lily pads, it was perfect largemouth bass habitat.

Even better, the propeller-killing rock barrier made it unlikely that any serious fishing boats ever tried this spot. As my kayak ghosted silently to the edge of the weeds, I cast my lure deep into the lily field. I twitched it twice across the surface, and with a heart-stopping splash, it was ambushed by a football-sized largemouth bass.

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Killarney is my muse

Today’s post was written by photographer Rob Stimpson, a long-time lover of Killarney Provincial Park’s wild spaces. All photographs below are copyright to robstimpson.com.

Killarney has been part of my life for years. It was one of the first canoe trips after moving from Montreal to Toronto in the late ’80s. The images I shot on those trips (long before becoming a professional photographer) may be amateurish in composition and lighting, but still hold strong memories of a place that I have returned to time and time again.
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