A few months ago, we launched the #MyParkMyStory campaign where we invited our visitors to gather around our virtual campfire to share their favourite park memories and experiences.
And boy, did you deliver!
So, pull up your virtual folding chair, grab a marshmallow or hot dog on a roasting stick, and let’s have a fireside chat.
Today, we’re sharing some of our favourite #MyParkMyStory memories submitted by you!
Let’s start from the beginning:
What’s your earliest camping memory?
“Not my first, but close to it. 1979 at Lake of Two Rivers in Algonquin Provincial Park.”
– Ryan Jenkins
“Not my first time camping, but I think it was my first time camping at a provincial park.
This was at Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park in 1997 (I was 10) when I went camping with my Girl Guide group (I’m the one in the Pooh shirt).
I now live close to this park and visit often for day trips, and it was the first place where we took our son camping when he was a year old.”
– Olivia Riccia
“I remember camping as a very young girl. This was our first camping trip to Killbear Provincial Park: summer of 1979.
It’s me and my older brother… I still love camping to this day and last summer, I was finally able to take my girls to Killbear, as it was my fondest childhood memory.”
– Catalina Espinoza
“Parents had a trailer at Balsam Lake Provincial Park for years when I was a kid.
I didn’t go car camping until I was 11. The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation took us to a few places in my teens. The Massasauga Provincial Park, Algonquin Provincial Park and Temagami River Provincial Park are the ones I can remember.
Now I camp every summer, striving to visit new parks each year!”
– Cayla Pool
“The classic 70s camping trip. A VW camper. Sharbot Lake Provincial Park, May 1975.”
– Kathy Betts
“I first started camping at and visiting Ontario Parks when I was very young, less than a year old. My family and I would visit a variety of parks each year.
Some we returned to almost every year, such as Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, Algonquin Provincial Park, and MacGregor Point Provincial Park, others we have only visited once or a few times so far during day trips or road trips across Ontario, such as Killbear Provincial Park, Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, Voyageur Provincial Park, and Restoule Provincial Park.
It was always so much fun camping at an Ontario Park or just spending the day there when I was a kid, and it still is to this day! There are so many cool things to see and do at Ontario Parks, beautiful landscapes and scenery to enjoy, interesting trails to explore, important history to learn, and informative and fun park programs to attend. I’ve been to roughly 38 parks so far and hope to explore many more!”
– Josie Dinsmore, Adventures with Josie
Now that you’ve gained some experience exploring parks in Ontario…
Which park is your go-to?
“Canoeing, camping, chilling by the lakes, backcountry camping, winter camping.
Algonquin Provincial Park has the best landscapes by far.
Photographed on a backcountry trip in 2018.”
– Danny Birdie
“I fell in love with solo camping. I bought a ‘77 van and took myself to parks in southeast Ontario. A favourite was Sandbanks Provincial Park on a wet and chilly closing weekend.
No one around. Trails and beaches to myself. Time to read, nap, reconnect.”
– Laurie Gashinski
Have been camping since I was a baby (I will be 42 this summer), we used to take up 4-7 sites between aunts, uncles, and grandparents!
Now it’s just my mom, brother, sister, and a cousin that go. But it’s always a great time. We love the park, love the beach, and have watched many, many changes over the years.
We often reminisce about the past: movie nights in the amphitheater, colouring contests, trails, the rope bridge in the playground, craft mornings with park staff, when the park was only two sections, no hydro, being evacuated due to a major storm, and so many more.
I know Al Fountain and I enjoy going and having our own kids experience the new things to offer!”
– Elizabeth Fountain
“Pancake Bay Provincial Park is my absolute favourite. I worked there this past fall at the gatehouse.
– Kathy Elkas
“Pinery Provincial Park — my husband and I both grew up near it.
He went there every year since he was born with his parents, and then we have gone every year except for one or two for the 30+ years we have been married.
We also camped there many years with a group of friends and relatives. And we were part of the host and hostess program for a few years. Many wonderful memories there.”
– Donna Fohkens
We can all agree accessing green space has been integral to our mental health for the past few years.
How have parks been there for you during challenging times?
“I’m 15 minutes away from Presqu’ile Provincial Park. My daily (almost) sanctuary.
My old friend of over 20 years. I’m blessed to live where I am.”
– Debbie Gannon
“Ontario Parks… Our PP’s are to our essential to our well being. They have been our spring, summer, and fall RVing destination for almost a decade. They are good for the soul!”
– Heather Lynn Pepin Kendry
– Amy Bryant
“I think this pandemic has shown us how important our provincial parks and green spaces are, and that we need more of them!”
– Erinn Lawrie
“Ontario Parks has been a lifesaver during the pandemic.
Being able to camp, enjoy a campfire, the smell of the pine trees, and listening to the birds’ song has been good medicine. Kudos to the great job you have done keeping the parks open safely.”
We can’t thank you enough for sharing your stories with us!
Here’s to countless more memories with loved ones in our beautiful natural spaces.