Chugging along the tracks of time

Today’s post comes from Kelila Seymour, 2021 Discovery Leader at Neys Provincial Park.

While some parks can boast a connection with the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR), few parks are “tied” to the railroad as closely as Neys!

Maybe you’ve driven across the tracks when you’ve entered the park, heard the whistle blow as you curl up around an evening fire, or had the chance to paddle under the trussel bridge that spans the Little Pic River.

Surrounding Neys, you are reminded of the CPR and its historical significance to the park and to Canada.

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The life of a lumberjack in 5 objects

Today’s post comes from Sonje Bols, a Discovery Program Coordinator with Ontario Parks’ Northeast Zone. 

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a lumberjack 100 years ago?

Was it a life full of adventure? Or was it a hard, grinding existence?

Did some lumberjacks really have superhuman strength? How much truth can be found in the legends and songs describing their feats, struggles, and triumphs?

Here are five objects from Marten River that illustrate what the life of a lumberjack was really like!

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How Pancake Bay got its name

Today’s post comes from — you guessed it — Pancake Bay Provincial Park.

Where did the name Pancake Bay come from? The answer changes depending on who you ask.

Ask a local and they’ll tell you one story. Ask a Pancake Bay staff member and they’ll tell you another. Ask a child and they will tell you it’s because the beach is flat like a pancake 😉

But no matter whom you ask, the name is closely tied to the voyageurs.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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