A tale of star cross’d plovers

In today’s post, Marina Opitz, Discovery leader at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, regales us with shorebird drama of Shakespearean proportions. Thanks to Neal Mutiger for photographing our leading avian actors.

First, let us set the scene for our dramatic tale.

Picture an empty beach, orange sunrise gleaming across the waves, when two solitary plovers lock eyes from across the wrack line. It is love at first sight.

However, if we have learned anything from the immortal Bard, it is that not all romantic tales have a happy ending. And so we start on our path to eventual heartbreak…

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The Piping Plover power couple of Darlington

Today’s blog comes from Piping Plover Biologist Monica Fromberger from Ontario Parks’ southeast zone. 

Every year, Darlington Provincial Park runs a Piping Plover conservation program to help these special endangered shorebirds.

This year, the park’s plover lovers have done it again!

Lovebirds Blue and Miss Howard have successfully hatched, fledged, and raised all four of their chicks to migrate for the second year in a row.

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Five outdoor activities to improve your health

Who needs a gym membership when you have the outdoors?

Outdoor exercise has a stronger effect on blood pressure and mood than indoor exercise. Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity.

To put it simply, time spent outside is good for you! Let’s take a look at a few fun outdoor activities that can improve your health.

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How to plan a day trip to North Beach

North Beach Provincial Park is a beautiful day use park offering long sandy beaches along Lake Ontario and North Bay — 2,000 meters of sand beach to be specific!

Located in Prince Edward County, a short drive from its more famous neighbour, Sandbanks, it’s a popular spot for beach-goers and often hits capacity throughout the summer.

This year, you need to book your day use permit in advance to guarantee entry.

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How to plan your trip to Sibbald Point

Located on Lake Simcoe, Sibbald Point Provincial Park is a great spot for day-use. The park has a sandy beach and shallow water perfect for kids.

But during the hot summer months, the park can get extremely busy. Many weekends, Sibbald Point hits capacity and can’t welcome any more visitors until later in the day.

This year, you need to book your day use permit in advance to guarantee entry.

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How to beat the crowds at Sandbanks

Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the busiest parks in the province, welcoming over 800,000 visitors in 2020!

Sandbanks full parking lot signsMany summer days — especially weekends — Sandbanks hits capacity and can’t welcome any more visitors. This year, you need to book your day use permit in advance to guarantee entry.

We really hate to turn away visitors, especially knowing many have driven several hours to get here.

Planning a trip to Sandbanks? Check out our top tips for a fun and frustration-free visit:

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Beach basics

Ontario Parks beaches are prime summer destinations, particularly on weekends with beautiful weather. Our beaches welcome tens of thousands of visitors every year, and we’re proud to be part of so many happy memories.

However, especially now — when physical distancing and responsible park use are so critical — we’re asking for your help!

Here are our top 10 tips to help keep our parks safe and protected, and practice good beach etiquette:

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Piping Plovers

Today’s post comes from Assistant Ecologist and Piping Plover specialist Ian Fife.

If you’ve visited some of our popular Great Lakes beaches, you may have noticed restricted areas for a tiny bird no larger than a sparrow.

What’s so important about these birds, and why do we fence off parts of our beaches to protect them?

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Just roll with it: how one park adapts to an unpredictable shoreline

Today’s post comes from Amy Hall, a Resource Management Project Technician at Pinery Provincial Park.

Many of our visitors have been coming to Pinery for decades, witnessing the park change in many ways over time.

If you’ve been here in the last few years, you may have noticed that our beach is constantly changing month to month, and even day to day!

We’re asking everyone to do their part to minimize the risk to yourself and others by following all public health advice, including physical distancing, and only engaging in outdoor activities close to where you live. Please do not travel outside of your area. 

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Why driftwood matters

Today’s post comes from Laura Myers, Senior Park Interpreter of Neys Provincial Park.

Driftwood – it makes a great bench to watch the sunset, a balancing beam to play on, or that perfect element to your photograph.

There’s something about driftwood that gives beaches that rugged beauty factor. Walking on a beach, listening to the waves and the birds, and looking at the different pieces of driftwood can be wondrous and relaxing.

Has a piece of driftwood ever caught your eye and made you wonder where it originally came from? How it got that far up the beach? The size of the wave that put it there? What species of tree or how old it is?

Each piece of driftwood has its own journey and its own story. But its story isn’t over when it washes up on the beach.

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