The measure of a canoe trip

Today’s post is a polite rant from Quetico Provincial Park’s Librarian Jill Sorensen.

We seem to constantly hear about expedition-style trips. Grunt narratives where people have broken speed records, paddled the longest distances, or have been “the first” to complete a route. The blisters. The sleep deprivation. The endurance.

And that is fine. I have no problem with kilometre tracking or race attempts. But if you insist on measuring all of your trips, may I suggest that you count something else? Something that instead connects you to the landscape, or a piece of cultural history.

A little less pace. A little more place.

Here are some suggestions of other things to count:

Continue reading The measure of a canoe trip

Paddle like it’s 1796 at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park!

We are excited to bring back the Voyageur Adventure Tour to Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park this summer!

Experience the life of a voyageur at the height of the fur trade by paddling a voyageur canoe on the beautiful Mattawa River.

Our knowledgeable guides will help you discover part of our Canadian heritage.

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80 years of change in Neys’ sand dunes

Today’s post comes from Micaela Lewis, a Discovery Program student at Neys Provincial Park.

Gazing through Neys’ iconic forested dune system is an awe-inspiring experience that park visitors cherish.

With the soft sand, lichen-covered trees, and colourful wildflowers, the forest appears almost enchanted.

But the landscape didn’t always look this way.

The dunes have been present for thousands of years, as the Little Pic River has deposited sand along the banks of the river and into Ashburton Bay.

The bay is hugged by a long stretch of beach that the park is well known for. Waves created by the winds over Lake Superior move the sand ashore, forming the dunes.

The dunes of Neys have seen years of change. Come with us on a journey through history to explore this unique ecosystem.

Continue reading 80 years of change in Neys’ sand dunes

A brief introduction to Anishinaabemowin

Today’s post comes from DJ Fife, a park warden at Petroglyphs Provincial ParkDJ takes every opportunity available to promote the preservation of Anishinaabemowin during programs at the park and in everyday life. DJ has taught Anishnaabemowin for several semesters at Georgian College in Barrie and during several other cultural events.

Anishinaabemowin has and always will play a major role in my life.

I have been fortunate to have the circumstances to pursue my traditional language to the extent that I have. Some people describe me as fluent, but I try to avoid such a label. I will always have more to learn, and frankly I can still have a hard time following along when listening to first language speakers.

In any case — at 28 — I am among a very small number of young Anishinaabe people who have the ability to converse in our traditional language.

But there are many thousands of people who are seeking to learn.

Continue reading A brief introduction to Anishinaabemowin

Voices of the river: exploring the French River Visitor Centre

Today’s post comes from Dave Sproule, a Natural Heritage Education Specialist in our Northeast Zone. 

Can you hear the water speak?  The waters of the French River have many voices.

These voices travelled the river and lived along its shores. The French River has been a conduit for people, goods, and culture for thousands of years. The voices of the river are celebrated at the spectacular French River Visitor Centre.

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The Northern Lights

Seeing the magnificent Northern Lights is a bucket list item for any nature lover.

But did you know that the Northern Lights are caused by charged particles from the Sun?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is the name given to an often-ethereal band or curtain of faint light seen towards the northern horizon. Generally, the light is so faint that the light pollution of even a small town can wash it out.

However, in the dark skies of many of our provincial parks, the Northern Lights can be spectacular.

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Stories in the stars / Pride in our hearts

Today’s post comes from Will Morin, a Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury and Bruce Waters, a former educator at the McLaughlin Planetarium and founder of the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory.

It’s time we learn the astronomical traditions of the diverse Indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Continue reading Stories in the stars / Pride in our hearts

The wreck of the Lambton

Today’s post comes from Kenton Otterbein, Discovery Program leader at Killbear Provincial Park.

In a time before instant communication, accurate weather forecasts, or GPS, the navigation lights and lighthouses on the Great Lakes helped guide ships to safe harbour through dangerous shoals and stormy seas.

Just over 100 years ago, one ship met its early demise travelling a route which included the shores of Killbear Provincial Park.

This is the tragic story of the Lambton.

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Living with Zhiishiigweg (Massasauga Rattlesnake): an Anishinaabek perspective

Today’s post comes from Indigenous Project Relations Intern Adam Solomon and Discovery Program Leader Kenton Otterbein at Killbear Provincial Park. Adam is a member of Henvey Inlet First Nation.

Seeing a Massasauga Rattlesnake (“Zhiishiigweg in Anishinaabemowin) can provoke a variety of emotions ranging from fear to fascination.

Unfortunately, fear caused by misinformation exaggerating the danger of rattlesnake bites has caused many to kill rattlesnakes over the past 200 years of European settlement in this province.

The Anishinaabek have a different worldview of the Massasauga Rattlesnake.

Continue reading Living with Zhiishiigweg (Massasauga Rattlesnake): an Anishinaabek perspective

The Meteor in Helenbar Lake

Today’s post comes from our Discovery Specialist (and history buff), Dave Sproule.

On June 29, 1946, a Meteor struck the waters of Helenbar Lake in the remote forests 60 km north of the town of Blind River…

… but it wasn’t the kind of Meteor you’re thinking of.

This Meteor was a jet fighter plane!

Continue reading The Meteor in Helenbar Lake