Finding a place in the sun for the Pitcher’s Thistle

In today’s post, former Chief Park Naturalist Angela Gunn reflects on the at-risk Pitcher’s Thistle.

Almost 20 years have passed since we mindfully took notice of the Pitcher’s Thistle (Cirsium pitcheri) and added it to our provincial species-at-risk list.

Standing up to a metre tall, the Pitcher’s Thistle casts its slender silvery profile against dune and shoreline backdrops.

It humbly asks for its own space to grow in nutrient poor, unstable sands.

What does this plant offer me?

What will the world lose if this species does not linger into the future?

Who would love such a scraggly beast of a plant?

Continue reading Finding a place in the sun for the Pitcher’s Thistle

What makes the Great Lakes so great?

In today’s blog, Discovery Project Program Coordinator Jessica Stillman reflects on our mutual relationship with the Great Lakes.

Our human history is reflected in their waters.

The Great Lakes capture our past, influence our present, and inspire our future. 

Imagine the stories they could tell.

These bodies of water are called the Great Lakes for a reason: from their size (the largest surface freshwater system on Earth) to their role in our collective history, where do we even begin to share what makes them great?

Continue reading What makes the Great Lakes so great?

How to plan a day trip to North Beach

North Beach Provincial Park is a beautiful day use park offering long sandy beaches along Lake Ontario and their enclosed bay — 2,000 metres of sand beach to be specific!

Located in Prince Edward County, a short drive from its more famous neighbour, Sandbanks, it’s a popular spot for beach-goers and often hits capacity throughout the summer.

This year, you need to book your day use permit in advance to guarantee entry.

Continue reading How to plan a day trip to North Beach

Should you bring a floatie to the beach?

The day starts out with the best intentions.

You’ve brought your inflatable flamingo (or unicorn or yellow duck or inner tube…) to your favourite beach in hopes of getting some much-needed R&R.

You wade into the water, throw the shades on, climb aboard, and lie back to soak up the sun…

… when suddenly, you’re jolted awake with the realization that you’ve drifted way out into open water!

Your swimming skills aren’t great and you didn’t wear your lifejacket or PFD, so you attempt to paddle yourself near land with your arms. But the wind’s against you.

You wave your arms, trying to get the attention of people on shore…

…until you lose your balance and slide off your slippery inflatable friend into the water…

Continue reading Should you bring a floatie to the beach?

How to plan your trip to Sibbald Point

Located on Lake Simcoe, Sibbald Point Provincial Park is a great spot for day-use. The park has a sandy beach and shallow water perfect for kids.

But during the hot summer months, the park can get extremely busy. Many weekends, Sibbald Point hits capacity and can’t welcome any more visitors.

This year, you need to book your day use permit in advance to guarantee entry.

Continue reading How to plan your trip to Sibbald Point

Why driftwood matters

Today’s post comes from Laura Myers, Past Senior Park Interpreter of Neys Provincial Park.

Driftwood – it makes a great bench to watch the sunset, a balancing beam to play on, or that perfect element to your photograph.

There’s something about driftwood that gives beaches that rugged beauty factor. Walking on a beach, listening to the waves and the birds, and looking at the different pieces of driftwood can be wondrous and relaxing.

Has a piece of driftwood ever caught your eye and made you wonder where it originally came from? How it got that far up the beach? The size of the wave that put it there? What species of tree or how old it is?

Each piece of driftwood has its own journey and its own story. But its story isn’t over when it washes up on the beach.

Continue reading Why driftwood matters

2022 Piping Plover season recap

In today’s post, Piping Plover Biologist Monica Fromberger shares the hot gossip surrounding this season’s plover population.

We had TWO Piping Plover nests in southeastern Ontario this year!

One at Darlington Provincial Park and the other at Presqu’ile Provincial Park.

Continue reading 2022 Piping Plover season recap

How to plan a trip to Sandbanks

Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the busiest parks in the province, welcoming over 800,000 visitors in 2020!

Sandbanks full parking lot signsMany summer days — especially weekends — Sandbanks hits capacity and can’t welcome any more visitors. This year, you need to book your day use permit in advance to guarantee entry.

We really hate to turn away visitors, especially knowing many have driven several hours to get here.

Planning a trip to Sandbanks? Check out our top tips for a fun and frustration-free visit:

Continue reading How to plan a trip to Sandbanks