Spirits and storytellers

Spirit walks and storytellers

When paddling a river or toasting marshmallows, it can be easy to forget the rich cultural history of Ontario’s provincial parks.

We’ve got all kinds of storytelling going on in our parks this August,  especially in the evenings. Care to stop by for a yarn?

Bonnechere Provincial Park

Bonnechere NHE programIts cultural history began thousands of years ago with First Nations travellers. By the 1840s, the McIntyres, McGueys, Lafleurs and Egans were clearing land, harvesting what they called “beaver hay” and turning their homesteads into “carrying stops” where lumbermen passing through, could get a meal or a bed.

In 1996, Spirits of the Little Bonnechere, a book full of Bonnechere stories, was published. Author Roderick MacKay visited and recorded known sites along the Little Bonnechere River and interviewed children of the original Basin Depot settlers. He dedicated his book to all the people of the Bonnechere: past, present and future.

You can hear their stories on Spirits’ Night, August 20, 2016

Bronte Creek Provincial Parkspruce lane farmhouse ghost

Rumour has it the park’s 19th-century Spruce Lane farmhouse is haunted.

The farmhouse was the home of Harry and Margaret Breckon and their four children almost a century ago. In 1931, when Harry died, the family placed his body in the front parlour for a wake, as was the custom. So what started the ghostly rumours? Find out on a Spruce Lane farmhouse ghost walk!

Petroglyphs Provincial Park


One of Canada’s most remarkable sights is found in Petroglyphs, north of Peterborough. The country’s largest known concentration of Indigenous rock carvings (petroglyphs) is here. Carvings depict turtles, snakes, birds, humans and more.

The sacred site is known as the “Teaching Rocks.” Normally, Petroglyphs is a day-use-only park, operating from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily during the summer months. However, this August, two special evening tours are planned. Bring your flashlight!

Hungry for more park stories? Check out our round-up of summer nightlife, or stay tuned to our events page!