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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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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The astronomical origins of the calendar

Most of us live by our calendars to keep our schedules straight.

But did you know the calendar has astronomical origins?

While the constellations were, largely, created to help people remember significant star patterns, they have plenty of other uses. One of these is for the formation of the calendar.

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A brief history of nature education in provincial parks

“Through these interesting and enjoyable experiences which are both educational and recreational, interpretation contributes to the inspirational value of the outdoors and fosters an understanding, an appreciation, and an intelligent use of our parklands.”

– Alan Helmsley, Department of Lands & Forests, 1960

Ontario Parks’ nature programs are designed to help people discover and connect with the natural and cultural history of the park during their visit.

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Then and now: Ontario Parks visitors

This blog post comes from Senior Marketing Specialist Anne Craig. 

It’s the summer of 1963. Lester B. Pearson has just been elected the Prime Minister of Canada, and “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore is topping the CHUM chart.

Ontario is enjoying a year of economic growth, riding on the tails of a booming manufacturing sector. One of the most popular summer vacations is camping at a provincial park.

But campers were a lot different in 1963 than they are today. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between what campers were like in 1963, and today.

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