campers in front of green tent

How our partners helped us protect our parks in 2019

We are privileged to work with partner organizations that help us keep our parks protected and accessible for the millions of Ontarians who use them every year.

Now, we would like to look back on 2019, and thank our partners for their contributions and ongoing support.

It’s also a great chance to let you know about the important work that they’re doing in public and behind the scenes.

Connecting people to parks

Learn to Camp

Ontario Parks’ Learn to Camp program launched in 2011. Ever since, we’ve been teaching first-timers the basics of camping.

Two learn to camp leaders hold the photo frame for a large group photo.Location: Grundy Lake PPPhoto wavers: Grundy Lake PP

This year, we welcomed 3,224 people for an overnight experience that included building a campfire, sleeping in a tent, and, of course, making s’mores.

We’ve been able to offer this program thanks to our friends at Coleman, Bush’s Beans, Qwick Wick Fire Starters, Leclerc, Learn to Fish, and Parkbus.

Facebook Live info sessions

With the help of SAIL, we delivered three informational livestreams to help you plan the best possible experience at Ontario Parks.

These livestreams featured lively Q&As with Ontario Parks experts, and demonstrations of all SAIL’s coolest camping gear. Over 11,000 of you tuned in to listen!

You can check out previous livestreams on our Facebook page.

Engaging visitors

S’more sampling

Everyone knows camping just isn’t camping without s’mores.

That’s why the folks at Leclerc decided to send their travelling food truck on a provincial park tour, offering complimentary s’mores made with their iconic Célébration cookies.

group of people in front of a s'more food truck

Over 12,000 visitors got their hands on a free s’more this past summer. We’re sure they’ll be making their own in no time.

Free baked beans

A hot, tasty meal cooked over a campfire – it’s another key part of camping. And what better dish is there than a can of baked beans?

That’s why we worked with Bush’s Beans throughout the year to help them introduce themselves to our visitors.

Bush's Beans can

They handed out over 5,000 baked bean samples and 4,000 coupons to Ontario Parks guests this year – a smashing hit!

Keeping visitors safe

PFD Lending Program

We want our campers and day-trippers to stay safe in and on the water, and that starts with a PFD (personal flotation device).

The PARKsmart PFD Lending Program is a water safety program carried out at 68 parks across the province. At any of the participating parks, campers can borrow a PFD, free of charge.

In 2019, we loaned out over 5,700 PFDs, most to kids aged 4-17.

A Learn to Fish employee teaching children to fish

Thanks to continued support from Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Ontario Power Generation, BOATsmart, Swim Guide, Salus Marine, Stearns, and the Canadian Red Cross, our provincial parks are able to keep our visitors comfortable and safe near the water.

Thanking our students

The Ontario Parks Partners’ Bursary

One thing is true: our provincial parks could not operate without the hard work of our summer students.

Since 2000, our corporate partners have provided over $250,000 to our students through the Ontario Parks Partners’ Bursary. In 2019, 40 students received awards of $500 each.

two people posing
Ontario Parks Director Jason Travers congratulates bursary winner Whitney Otis

Here’s a special shout-out to our partners who helped make these awards possible:

Be sure to check out our recap of the ceremony!

Giving back to parks

Zipcar park pass program

Maybe you heard about our partnership with Zipcar in 2019: specially-marked Zipcars came with a free day-use pass to Ontario Parks.

woman putting on hiking boots from front seat of car. Other woman waiting to start hike

And, equally awesome, every new Zipcar member in July and August triggered a $2 donation to Ontario Parks. Thanks to their generosity, we were able to raise over $11,000 in total.

We use these donations to maintain, manage, and protect the parks we all love.

two women and trailer on campsite

We also had new cause-marketing relationships last year with the RV rental company Outdoorsy and with The Trip Shed, an organization that provides the tools, knowledge, and supplies for premium wilderness experiences.

Thank you all

We sincerely thank all our partners for the work they’ve done helping to preserve our provincial parks.

If you’re interested in partnering with us on a project, please visit our corporate partnerships page at: