Falling for campsite crafting

Today, Content Development Specialist Andrea Coulter takes us through some family-friendly fall crafts. 

Last fall, my kids and I joined my parents on a three generation camping trip to Canisbay Lake Campground in Algonquin Provincial Park.

We spent our days going for bike rides, hiking, and visiting around the campfire, but my kids’ creative bug was definitely itching. I was glad I had prepared some activities for around the campsite!

Continue reading Falling for campsite crafting

Nature journaling — just try not to be inspired

This article was written (and illustrated!) by Courtney Lafleur, Senior Park Clerk at Murphys Point Provincial Park.

Time spent in nature can have a profound and lasting positive effect on our physical and mental health, and journaling has long been heralded for its own health benefits. Put them together and you’ve got nature journaling; an activity that inspires creativity, mindfulness and connectivity with nature.

In the simplest terms, nature journaling is about looking at the natural world around you and recording your thoughts and observations. You don’t need a lot to get started, just a piece of paper and something to write with.

Continue reading Nature journaling — just try not to be inspired

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.

Continue reading Open eyes, open mind: nature journaling with kids

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).

Continue reading Frances Anne Hopkins: documenting the lives of voyageurs through art

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.

Continue reading Experience more of nature by journaling