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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How to leave the park greener than you found it

Today’s post comes from Sheila Wiebe, a marketing and development specialist at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

I promise to be greener.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m already pretty green. However, after leading an Earth Day park clean up, I decided I need to take it one step further and double up my efforts to further reduce my impact on the environment.

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7 things to remember when arriving at the park gatehouse for day use

In today’s post comes from Discovery Leader Matt Cunliffe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park

When the big day comes, if you’re like me, all you want to do is get to your site: tent set, chairs out, feet up.

I’ve worked for Ontario Parks since 2006, and last year had the opportunity to run a gate house.

This gave me an increased respect for the amazing work our gate staff perform and valuable perspective on just how busy the park can be during check-in time for a long weekend…or any weekend for that matter.

And after a season of answering questions and helping campers, here are a few considerations for this year:

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What it’s like to work the front gate at a provincial park

Our front gate staff are frontline heroes of park operations.

(If you’ve ever checked in at a bustling park on a busy Friday afternoon, you know exactly what we’re talking about!)

Gate staff work extremely hard to get you into the park as quickly as possible, all while balancing many priorities in a hectic environment.

Here are five things they’d like you to know about working in the gatehouse:

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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!

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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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What it’s like to be a washroom cleaner at Ontario Parks

In today’s post, our Algonquin Zone Marketing Specialist Andrea Coulter shares how a summer of cleaning washrooms turned her into a public washroom etiquette crusader.

After more than 15 years with Ontario Parks, I still remember my first position most vividly (you never forget cleaning poop off the beach…). I was eighteen years old, and spent the summer working maintenance with Ontario Parks.

After that season of wiping footprints off toilet seats, cleaning clumps of hair from washroom sinks, and scraping waste off the floor, there are some things I started doing (and some things I would never do again):

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Planes, paddles and portages: a journey of garbage

This is a story about garbage.

It wasn’t a quick journey. It took a plane ride, some paddling in a canoe, portaging, more paddling, another plane ride, and a drive on the highway.

This garbage was left in Algonquin Provincial Park’s remote backcountry, something that, unfortunately, happens far too often.

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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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Forever protected: why Bon Echo belongs

Our “Forever Protected” series shares why each and every park belongs in Ontario Parks. In today’s post, Lisa Roach from the Discovery Program tells us Bon Echo’s story. 

A favourite for generations of people, Bon Echo provides amazing scenery, relaxation, and a place for families and friends to reconnect. Indigenous peoples, artists, and early recreationists have all been attracted to the Bon Echo area.

So, why was Bon Echo chosen to become a park?

It all started with a donation of land.

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