Family Day & Valentine getaways at Ontario Parks

February is a popular month to visit Ontario Parks. Five provincial parks plan Family Day events and affordable Valentine getaways in roofed accommodation at many parks are also a big draw. Valentine’s Day and Family Day are on the same holiday weekend this year, February 13-16. While holiday weekend accommodation is already booked, mid-week dates are still available. A total of twenty-six parks across Ontario are open this winter. Eight have roofed accommodation for rent. Nineteen have groomed ski trails and snowshoeing and several offer skating, tobogganing and tubing. The Ontario Parks Ski Report has the latest trail conditions. This Park Blog snowshoe post includes parks with designated trails.  For more on Family Day events and Valentine getaways, please see below.

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Plan an exotic winter adventure at Ontario Parks

Summer campers love Ontario Parks but many have never experienced their favourite park in winter.  Ontario Parks aims to change that. Nineteen provincial parks are open this winter season with cross-country trails to ski.  Thirteen have groomed or track-set trails. And eight of the nineteen have comfortable roofed accommodation for rent. Designated snowshoe trails are in many parks. Some have skating and tubing too. Three parks will host ski loppets. Another will host an annual snowshoe race and at least five plan to celebrate February’s Family Day weekend with special events. Below are tips to help visitors plan their own exotic park adventure this winter:

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Christmas is for the birds at Killarney

Christmas bird counts have been a tradition that has been taking place for the past 114 years.  In 1900, A single man set out to count the number of different bird species and now these counts take place in over 2000 localities in Canada, US, Latin America and the Caribbean.  Bird Studies Canada now coordinates with all the local organizers to help make these counts possible.  This year, all counts must take place between December 14 and January 5.  Birds are counted in a 24km diameter circle; the same area is then used every year.

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RV camping in late fall

RV travellers love fall at Ontario Parks even after Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October). Some even camp in winter. Park staff affectionately call these campers ‘winter warriors’ since staying warm and maintaining the water systems in your RV in Ontario winter temperatures is a challenge.  These four Ontario Parks are your best bet for late fall camping in an RV. Know that trailer fill stations for water are normally closed later in the season, based on weather.  However, three parks have campgrounds offering electrical service, and comfort stations with hot showers that are open year round. The fourth, Killarney Provincial Park, does not have electrical service.  The park also closes its comfort stations and turns off its water systems following the Canadian Thanksgiving, but the bathrooms outside of the main office remain open along with a tap so campers can access water to fill large jugs. Don’t forget that you need a park permit to camp in any season at Ontario Parks. More detailed RV information is on the Ontario Parks web site.

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The many colours of fall

The countdown to fall has begun; children are returning to school, sweaters and long pants are reappearing and birds and butterflies are beginning their migratory journeys.  Some of us experience a kind of grieving at this time of year; we mourn for the long hot days of summer.  But others celebrate fall – a time of glorious colour, quiet parks and few bugs.

Only a few regions of the world offer the kind of spectacular, showy fall colours that Ontario is famous for. The climate and deciduous trees of Northeastern North America provide the perfect storm for transforming our lush green foliage into the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges.

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Ontario biology student’s “sedimental journey” reveals good news for Sudbury’s lakes

Facilitating scientific research is one of the four objectives of Ontario’s Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act.  This advances our learning about protected areas and enhances Ontario Parks’ ability to maintain ecological integrity.  Much of this research is conducted by universities and graduate students.  In the last two years Ontario Parks has received over 300 applications to conduct research in parks.

A PhD biology student from Queen’s University has made an important discovery that could inspire the manufacturing industry worldwide to better understand the long-term environmental damage to lakes and other bodies of water, caused by emissions that cause acid rain.  The impacts of acid rain were first noticed early on at one of Ontario’s most famous provincial parks – Killarney.

 

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A different kind of canoe trip…

Jim and Sue Waddington are keen canoe trippers.  They have spent many a winter evening thinking about places to paddle, perusing maps and wondering when Spring will melt the white landscape and free their intended waterway from the icy grip of winter.  Of course, trip planning includes gear lists, menus and grocery lists, and maps.

View of lake and canoiests from The Crack in Killarney

Most of us paddle our canoes or kayaks to find solitude, connect with nature, recharge our batteries, stay healthy, get together with friends and family, or all of the above. Continue reading A different kind of canoe trip…

Killarney’s 50th Anniversary and new Group of Seven Festival

Killarney Provincial Park  is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a first annual Group of Seven Festival on July 18 to 20th. The weekend will highlight the area’s rich artistic heritage and commemorate the Park’s creation, which was in large part, influenced by Group of Seven members A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael.

Park activities are offered all weekend long within the park and also in the Village of Killarney.  Be sure to take the time to stroll around the scenic Village and pop into a local restaurant for lunch or dinner!  Watch a short video on the festival on our YouTube channel.

Photo of Nellie Lake Killarney Provincial Park. Painting by A.Y. Jackson
A.Y. Jackson (1882 – 1974), Hills, Killarney, Ontario (Nellie Lake), c. 1933, oil on canvas, 77.3 x 81.7 cm, Gift of Mr. S. Walter Stewart, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1968.8.28 and Photo courtesy of Jim Waddington

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