5 ways to make every day Earth Day in Ontario

Visiting your nearest provincial park is a start

As people around the world prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Ontarians have everything they need right in their own backyard. With more than 330 provincial parks covering 8.2 million hectares of parkland, Ontario is a veritable playground for all things fun and environmental.

Here are five ways you can enjoy the spirit of Earth Day in April and throughout the year:

Learn to camp

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March Break 2015 at Ontario Parks

Here’s what’s on during March Break and on March weekends at Ontario Parks in 2015.

Check the Ontario Parks Ski Report for the latest snow conditions. http://www.ontarioparks.com/skireport

For more information on March Break events check here: www.ontarioparks.com/events

At The Pinery, the Visitor Centre will be open and Natural Heritage Education programs offered daily during March Break and on March weekends. On March 21 from 10:30 – 12:00, a special workshop for parents and grandparents will give new strategies for exploring the natural world with children. Hands-on kids activities will also be available. More park event information including the return of the Tundra swans is on the Friends of Pinery website www.pinerypark.on.ca/

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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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Winter camping or ice fishing anyone? North, south parks have it all

Imagine a couple newly in love ditching their trip down south to sleep in a yurt in northern Ontario and snowshoe the week away while communing with nature.

That is exactly what one young couple did a few years ago after deciding to winter camp at Windy Lake, north of Sudbury. With the wood stove to keep them warm at the chalet and a whole lot of wanderlust to help them snowshoe through the park, the couple had a blast. And why not?

Silent Lake Provincial Park

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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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Riding the waves in Ontario Parks

Riding the waves in Ontario Parks

Four of the five Great Lakes border Ontario, one of Canada’s best places for kiteboarders, windsurfers and yes, even surfers.  Popular “rider” places include many Ontario Parks especially in the fall when winds get stronger, the waves are bigger and the parks are a lot quieter. Here are a few favourites. Be sure to check with park authorities on where you can safely ride and remember,  vehicle permits are required. 

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BBQ turkey for Thanksgiving? Why not? Roofed accommodations make Thanksgiving getaways a breeze

This Thanksgiving, why not take the work out of your Thanksgiving dinner and head to your favourite park for a weekend away and a BBQ turkey with all the fixings? After all, you can recycle just about everything you need to cook a turkey dinner on the BBQ so cleanup is a breeze!  (Cue collective “Yes!” from mothers everywhere).

Move over Martha Stewart, this is Thanksgiving Canadian style!

Imagine how delicious a BBQ turkey would taste, seasoned with fresh herbs and hot off the grill; dotted with cranberry sauce, prepared gravy, fresh fall vegetables and a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert! Add a nice hot cup of coffee, maybe a S’more or two and you’re ready for a relaxing campfire under the stars.

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10 ways to enjoy fall at Ontario Parks

1.    Book a Prince Edward County adventure

Maple Rest Heritage House  is a four-bedroom Victorian farmhouse. Jacques Cottage  has a beautiful view of Lake Ontario. You can book either for a fall getaway to Prince Edward County this fall through Sandbanks Provincial Park.

 2.    Find a quiet corner of Algonquin

Check out these tips from staff on how to explore a less busy side of Algonquin in the fall.

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New roofed accommodation at Ontario Parks

Five Ontario Parks are getting new roofed accommodation. The cabins at Finlayson Point, Fushimi Lake, Charleston Lake and Bon Echo Provincial Parks are available now for reservations.  Presqu’ile Provincial Parks’ retrofitted cabin will be available soon for booking.  The new accommodation will add to the existing variety of roofed accommodation in Ontario that includes new cabins earlier this year at Arrowhead Provincial Park as well as a Victorian farm house, two lodges, historic ranger cabins, lakeside cottages and deluxe yurts and cabins.

Cabin at Charleston Lake
Tall Pines Cabin at Charleston Lake

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The Zen of sleeping indoors: student-built cabins offer bug-free “camping”

Tired of sleeping on the ground?  Tired of hauling all of your camping gear around?   Tired of swatting bugs all night long? 

 Although some purists may throw down their tents and solar powered espresso machines in defiance, a growing number of visitors to Ontario Parks actually prefer to sleep indoors and are asking for more roofed accommodations.

 Some visitors want the comforts of home like a bed, mattress, microwave, propane BBQ and best of all a bug-free, swat-free, covered porch with a view of the lake. Continue reading The Zen of sleeping indoors: student-built cabins offer bug-free “camping”