From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 1

This post kicks off a three-part photographic journey into the history of our universe! Read on to explore the key events that led to the formation of our provincial parks and the natural world we live in.

Have you ever stared up into a starry sky and wondered “how did it all begin?”

Today we will discuss the origins of the universe, the evolution of galaxies and globular clusters, and conclude with a history of the first stars and supernovae.

Stay tuned for Part II where we detail how stars are born and live out their lives, including the formation of the planets. Finally in Part III, we will discuss how different stars end their lives.

So let’s get started with our origin story!

Continue reading From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 1

How to plan a day hike on Killarney’s “The Crack” Trail

You’ve seen the Instagram snaps and magazine covers. You dream of the view from white quartzite mountain ridges, of gazing across the landscape that inspired the Group of Seven.

Pump the brakes a moment, though. Did you see that word “mountain”?

It’s not a metaphor.

The Crack is an extremely challenging hike in the LaCloche Mountain range at Killarney, a wilderness class park.

Proper preparation is paramount to getting up and down safely. Otherwise, hikers face a very real danger of getting lost, dehydrated, and/or seriously injured.

If you’re planning to hike The Crack, please fully review this post as part of your planning process for hiking this iconic trail:

Continue reading How to plan a day hike on Killarney’s “The Crack” Trail

Health benefits of dark skies

Today’s blog comes from our Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator Sarah McMichael. 

My most memorable camping memory didn’t come from a crackling campfire, a panoramic lookout, or a stunning sandy beach.

It happened at 3:00 am at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As I stumbled out of my tent for a late-night bathroom break, I noticed something different about the sky above me. There were stars.

A LOT of stars.

Continue reading Health benefits of dark skies

It’s aster season!

Today’s post comes to us from Discovery Program Specialist Dave Sproule.

Around the middle of August, Ontario’s landscape starts to change colour. A bit of gold here, swaths of white there, and even a touch of purple in places. No, it’s not fall yet, although the odd maple tree may think so. It’s actually the “second flowering of summer,” and it lasts well into the autumn.

While many of the flowering plants in the landscape have quit for the season, the asters and goldenrods are just getting going.
Continue reading It’s aster season!

Frozen falls and other wacky winter water

When most of us picture winter ice, we conjure up mental images of skating rinks and icicles. But did you know there’s a lot of variety in wintry water formations?

From frozen falls to ice volcanoes, winter water is quite a sight to behold:

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First Day Hike destinations

New Year’s Day is coming up fast — have you picked out a park for your First Day Hike?

This 10-park list rounds up some top options for your first foray into 2021:

Continue reading First Day Hike destinations

Winter adventure in Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney Provincial Park is 645 km2 of beautiful, unspoiled nature. Add in some killer trails and comfy accommodations and you’ve got a total winter hot spot. It’s no wonder winter explorers flock to the park when the cold hits.

So what are you waiting for? Here’s everything you need to know to plan your own Killarney adventure this winter.

Continue reading Winter adventure in Killarney Provincial Park

Why donate to Ontario Parks?

Did you know only a small portion of Ontario Parks’ budget comes from provincial taxes? In fact, the vast majority of operational funding comes from day-use and camping fees, rentals, partnerships, and the support of our generous donors.

Our donors give for many reasons. Ontario’s provincial parks are places of treasured memories, family traditions, connections with nature, and cultural landmarks.

That’s why we reached out to some recent donors to find out their reasons for supporting Ontario Parks. Here’s what they told us:

Continue reading Why donate to Ontario Parks?

Enhancing biodiversity in Killarney’s tree plantations

This article was written by Connor Oke, a marketing intern at Ontario Parks, using information provided by Ed Morris, Ontario Parks’ northeast zone ecologist. 

When Killarney Provincial Park was established in 1964, park managers faced a problem: what to do with old fields belonging to former homesteads within the park’s boundaries.

To prevent the spread of weedy species, they decided to plant trees, including White Spruce and Red Pine, and regrow the forests.

Continue reading Enhancing biodiversity in Killarney’s tree plantations

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Group of Seven

In today’s post, Assistant Discovery Program Leader Emma Dennis invites us to reflect on Killarney Provincial Park’s landscapes, past and present.

When I was young, we used to play a game where we would stand or sit in one spot, and use our imaginations to create an idea of what might have happened there years before us.

At that age, our ideas were that perhaps dinosaurs roamed in that same area or the princess kissed the frog in that same place hundreds of years ago (and they lived happily ever after!).

Today, I find myself playing a similar game as I explore Killarney Provincial Park.

However, my record of historical events is slightly more accurate.

Continue reading Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Group of Seven