Creating art out of garbage… barrels that is!

As the busiest provincial park in the province (with 1.5 million visitors annually!), Wasaga Beach Provincial Park deals with A LOT of garbage.

We want to encourage our visitors to dispose of their trash in appropriate areas, and protect our natural spaces.

That’s why we’re proud to share our new partnership where garbage and art collide: art barrels!

Continue reading Creating art out of garbage… barrels that is!

Open eyes, open mind: nature journaling with kids

In today’s post, Discovery Leader Carlin Thompson from Sandbanks Provincial Park shares her top tips for nature journaling with kids.

We did it, parents! We made it through another winter.

The struggle of tackling young children into layered outerwear and the scavenger hunts for matching mittens now seem like a distant memory. What sweet relief.

But before the unbridled joy of shucking the outerwear gives way to sunscreen-application-induced carpal tunnel and the din of summer boredom, let’s capitalize on our children’s excitement to be outside.

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My experience as Lake Superior’s first artist-in-residence

Today’s post comes from Marta Stares, the Friends of Lake Superior Provincial Park‘s first artist-in-residence.

In 2021, Lake Superior Provincial Park and the Friends of Lake Superior Provincial Park established its first Artist-in-Residence program.

I was honoured to be selected as the park’s first ever participant, and to be able to paint and capture the stunning landscape of the park.

With its rugged coast, tall cliffs, remote beaches, waterfalls, and scenic lookouts, it’s easy to see why generations of artists have found inspiration here.

Continue reading My experience as Lake Superior’s first artist-in-residence

This mindfulness moment brought to you by nature….

Today’s blog post comes from Ecologist Corina Brdar. When Corina’s not working at Ontario Parks, she is actively involved in the growing nature journaling and mindfulness community.

It seems the term “mindfulness” is showing up everywhere in our lives these days. It can be a tricky concept to try out in your everyday life, though. An easy place to give it a try is in nature.

At the very least, some mindful time in nature can allow your busy brain a moment of rest and your nervous system an opportunity to hit pause. It can also bring a new richness to your outdoor experiences.

So what is mindfulness, and how do you “do” it in nature?

Continue reading This mindfulness moment brought to you by nature….

Frances Anne Hopkins: documenting the lives of voyageurs through art

Today’s post comes from Taylor Bottoms-Cau, a second year Discovery student at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

You’ve likely heard of the Group of Seven, artists who travelled the remote landscapes of Ontario to capture their rugged beauty by brush.

But they weren’t the only artists who travelled rough and painted what they saw!

Fifty years before the Group of Seven, Frances Anne Hopkins was roughing it in a voyageur canoe between Lachine (Montreal) and Fort William (Thunder Bay).

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Honouring Quetico: my experience as an artist-in-residence

The Artist-in-Residence Program at Quetico Provincial Park provided two weeks of rest, peace, inspiration, and creativity at the artist’s studio on French Lake. In today’s post, Jennifer Caie shares her experience as Quetico’s artist-in-residence in June and July of 2019.

Arriving at the studio, I was exhausted and worn out by the stresses of life.

After unloading my art supplies from the car, I just sat down in an overwhelming calmness.

The scene was peaceful.

Continue reading Honouring Quetico: my experience as an artist-in-residence

Can we bring painted rocks to the park?

Art and nature go together like columbine flowers and hummingbird tongues.

Indigenous artists express their relationship to land through art; Canada’s Group of Seven found inspiration in several Ontario Parks; parks offer residency programs, and our park visitors find many artistic ways to capture their memories. We love it when visitors share their artistic creations with us.

However, a new trend is starting to cause problems province-wide: the painted rock.

Continue reading Can we bring painted rocks to the park?

Experience more of nature by journaling

Today’s blog post comes from Corina Brdar. When Corina’s not working at Ontario Parks, she is actively involved in the growing nature journaling and mindfulness community.

A different way to be mindful in nature is through nature journaling. Using  writing and sketching as tools can be a calming way to look more deeply and experience nature more fully.

Like our previous mindfulness exercises, this too is a judgment-free practice.  You’re not creating a piece of art. You’re using a notebook to help you pay attention and truly observe.

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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

Finding inspiration through nature

This blog post comes from Laura Myers, a Learning and Education Leader with the Ontario Parks Discovery Program.

Provincial parks are powerful places filled with inspiring elements. They have inspired artists for countless generations and continue to draw artists from near and far.

Continue reading Finding inspiration through nature