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.

“Our research shows that many long-time visitors to Ontario Parks don’t want to sleep in tents or haul around trailers anymore. They’re looking for that accommodation experience that allows them to spend time in the park without having to bring anything other than maybe a sleeping bag and some food.”
 – Ken Lacroix, Manager of Park Operations, Ontario Parks Southeast Zone


Loyalist College to the rescue

 Roofed accommodations, such as rustic cabins and yurts, are available in many provincial parks and provide opportunities for park users to stay overnight while being out of the elements.

 Now, thanks to a partnership between Ontario Parks and Loyalist College in Belleville, at least one park, Bon Echo, will soon have a new option for overnight stays and more could be on the way.


A look at the early stages of construction of the cabin at Loyalist.

Construction students at the college are using building plans and materials provided by Ontario Parks to build a rustic cabin for the park.  The project gives students a hands-on opportunity to do everything from framing to finishing work on the cabin.

 “It’s very motivating for students to work on something where they can see the start and finish of a project and know that someone is actually going to use the cabin.  It’s a win-win in that our students get to build and see the output of their endeavors and Ontario Parks receives a more cost-effective product.”

– Ann Drennan, Dean of Applied Sciences, Skills and Technology


Cabin features

The cabin being constructed at Loyalist will be similar to this cabin at Arrowhead .


  • 4.8 metres x 6.8 metres
  • Sleeps five
  • One queen bed, one double bed and a single bunk
  • Propane fireplace
  • Microwave, coffee maker, small fridge
  • Screened porch
  • BBQ

 “This cabin project meets all the requirements of a great partnership for Ontario Parks. It provides great learning opportunities for the students, Ontario Parks saves money and the end result is our users get to enjoy these new cabins knowing that students have built them with pride and joy.”

– Ken Lacroix, Manager of Park Operations, Ontario Parks Southeast Zone


This college partnership to build an Ontario Parks’ cabin is the first but not the last.  Ontario Parks will be partnering with Collège Boréal in 2014 to construct a cabin for Fushimi Lake Provincial Park.  Other partnerships are currently being discussed.

To reserve the new cabin at Bon Echo or any other roofed accommodation, consult the Ontario Parks Reservation System.