Enjoy the Lakes in Ontario Parks!

Be BOATsmart!® This Summer!

Another open-water season has arrived (well, almost!) and we hope you’re as excited as we are to get back out on the water! The sun is shining, the ice is officially on its way out, and Ontario Parks are starting to open up for the 2015 visiting season!

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Why parks matter

David Bree (Senior Natural Heritage Leader, Presqu’ile Provincial Park)

Why do Parks Matter?  Unfortunately that is becoming an increasingly pertinent question in an age where screen time outweighs nature time on a regular basis.

Working in a park, I can answer that question in a number of ways.  The most obvious perhaps is that parks provide protection for a great many habitats, which in turn provide space and resources for the animals and plants of the province to function in a normal fashion.  This is in essence the definition of biodiversity, a whole bunch of things living and interconnecting in a complex web.  This is a bit of a catch word these days, but maintaining a high biodiversity in our world has been shown to make for a more robust and healthy environment. And a healthy environment is integral to our survival – it supplies our air, our water and our food, just to name the most obvious and crucial elements of life.  While to me this is a compelling and obvious argument, it has become sterile to many ears that have been bombarded by warnings of environmental doom and gloom all their lives.  After a while people just don’t hear.

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Soundscapes from across Ontario

 One of my favourite signs is from a lookout over the Grand Canyon.  It simply says,

ONE MINUTE.
DON’T READ.
DON’T TALK.
NO PHOTOS.
JUST LOOK…..AND SEE.
It is something that I hope you will do often when you visit our parks or other natural areas in Ontario.  But how about this variation?

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Famous shipwrecks in or near Ontario Parks

There is a fascinating book called, “Mysterious Islands: Forgotten Tales of the Great Lakes”.  It mentions thousands of wrecks that lie at the bottom of the lakes which have been sailed since the 17th century. Many Ontario Parks are near these huge ship graveyards and in one park visitors can actually visit a wreck dating back to the War of 1812.

 

Illustration of the HMS Speedy

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The many moods of Lake Superior are beckoning: Kakabeka Falls anyone?

If you are looking for an enchanting way to ride out the rest of the summer or early fall, why not tour the coast of Lake Superior and finish your journey at Thunder Bay and Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park?  The coastline boasts several different parks that follow Lake Superior north and west.  When you reach the lakehead (Thunder Bay, Ontario’s western end of the lake), travel inland to Kakabeka Falls, home to the second largest waterfall in Ontario.

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Discover Your Inner Artist along the Lake Superior Circle Tour

In the fall of 1921, artist Lawren Harris first travelled the north shore of Lake Superior.  Moved by the rugged beauty of the landscape, he continued to return for many years, later accompanied by other members of the Group of Seven.  These camping trips to the Superior’s north shore were a creative well-spring and inspired a large number of pieces including Harris’ 1924 work, Pic Island.

Today, travellers can explore the Algoma and Superior North Shore landscape preserved in paint by Lawren Harris while driving the scenic Lake Superior Circle Tour along the TransCanada – Highway 17.   Whether you’re a painter, photographer or poet, let these landscapes inspire you to new creative heights.

Neys Provincial Park
Neys Provincial Park

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