Every March, the sap flows from trees and birds begin their journey north making pit stops at parks along the lower Great Lakes. The weather is milder allowing for more outdoor play. Special March Break events for 2013 are planned in many Ontario Parks including a maple syrup festival, a fun cross-country ski touring event and two big birding festivals. Guided hikes and natural heritage activities are planned for March weekends in select Ontario Parks across the province.
In Northern Ontario
The 11th Annual Cross Quetico Lakes Ski Tour is a unique ski event that attracts cross-country skiers every year to Quetico Provincial Park. It’s an all-day ski in one of Canada’s most pristine wilderness parks.
Across southern Ontario
Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s Maple Syrup Festival operates every weekend in March and during March Break from 9:30am-3:00pm in the Oakville- Burlington area west of Toronto. Costumed park staff bring the tradition of“sugaring-off” to life along Maple Lane. And there’s pancakes and maple syrup, a maple taffy station, park trails to roam, and a children’s Farm and Playbarn for the 10 years of age and under crowd.
Wings of Spring Migration Festival celebrates the return of the Tundra swans and waterfowl to Rondeau Provincial Park, near Chatham, in southwestern Ontario. The March 16 and 17 birding festival during March Break is the first true sign that spring is just around the corner. Rondeau has waterfowl viewing stations, a cool birdhouse building workshop for young families, artisans displaying their wares and the Friends of Rondeau host a BBQ.
Get introduced to the sights and sounds of The Pinery Provincial Park. This Lake Huron park famous for its beach, has naturalist-led hikes every weekend. It keeps its Visitor Centre open and there are easy trails for families to hike or cross-country ski. A toboggan hill is lit during the evening and is open daily – weather permitting. Yurts and even a new deluxe cabin are available for rent and the Winter Chalet which contains washrooms is kept heated. Visit The Pinery Provincial Park web site for further park information and helpful links such as The Friends of the Pinery.
The 37th Presqu’ile Waterfowl Weekend takes place March 16 and 17 on Lake Ontario, near Brighton. Tens of thousands of ducks, geese and swans representing 25 different species arrive each spring to rest and feed in Presqu’ile Bay before moving on to nesting areas further north and west. Presqu’ile Provincial Park’s chief naturalist David Bree says, “The big advantage in coming to the park during the festival is that you have access to spotting scopes to look through and knowledgeable volunteers to help you find and identify the many species present”. The park’s Lighthouse Centre will be open and children’s activities and crafts are planned. The Friends of Presqu’ile Park will also host a BBQ starting at 11 am where lunch, hot drinks and snacks can be purchased.
In Central Ontario
MacGregor Point Provincial Park is sometimes called the Yurt Capital of Ontario because of its 16 yurts for rent. March Break park activities in this Lake Huron park northwest of London, Ontario, include guided day and night hikes and a cool ice skating trail through the woods (weather-permitting).
Arrowhead Provincial Park has one of Ontario’s best cross-country ski trail networks. It also has designated snowshoe trails, a fun ice skating trail through the woods and lit up on some nights by torches, a tubing hill, skating rink and equipment rental. Best of all, even if there’s no snow in southern Ontario, chances are you’ll still find snow and skiing at Arrowhead during March Break. The park is located just north of Huntsville, off of Highway 11.