Four of the five Great Lakes border Ontario, one of Canada’s best places for kiteboarders, windsurfers and yes, even surfers. Popular “rider” places include many Ontario Parks especially in the fall when winds get stronger, the waves are bigger and the parks are a lot quieter. Here are a few favourites. Be sure to check with park authorities on where you can safely ride and remember, vehicle permits are required.
RV travellers love fall at Ontario Parks even after Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October). Some even camp in winter. Park staff affectionately call these campers ‘winter warriors’ since staying warm and maintaining the water systems in your RV in Ontario winter temperatures is a challenge. These four Ontario Parks are your best bet for late fall camping in an RV. Know that trailer fill stations for water are normally closed later in the season, based on weather. However, three parks have campgrounds offering electrical service, and comfort stations with hot showers that are open year round. The fourth, Killarney Provincial Park, does not have electrical service. The park also closes its comfort stations and turns off its water systems following the Canadian Thanksgiving, but the bathrooms outside of the main office remain open along with a tap so campers can access water to fill large jugs. Don’t forget that you need a park permit to camp in any season at Ontario Parks. More detailed RV information is on the Ontario Parks web site.
Looking for a new place to run? Try Ontario Parks. Softer trail surfaces minimize the impact on runner joints and backs. Runners have over 1,800 kilometres of trails to choose from. Park landscapes are spectacular and many parks offer roofed accommodation. Derrick Spafford is a regular trail runner at Frontenac Provincial Park which has 160 kilometres of trails, one of the largest trail networks east of the Canadian Rockies. In this Park Blog, Spafford shares his trail running tips and three favourite Frontenac trails.
Wasaga Under Siege at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
This is the year to visit! Many extra-special activities have been planned for this 200th Anniversary of the Sinking of the HMS Nancy. Enemy forces are planning to attack Wasaga Beach! Our Peaceful shores have not seen this many cannons, muskets and bayonets since the HMS Nancy sank in the Nottawasaga River in 1814. Join us on the battlefields, or at the encampment on the Nancy Island Historic Site where hundreds of re-enactors attack and avenge the demise of the HMS Nancy. A weekend full of events for the entire family. www.wasagaundersiege1812.com
The next time you walk the boardwalk at Presqu’ile Provincial Park or attend the Huron Fringe Birding Festival at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, thank a Friend.
Friends of Ontario Parks are not-for-profit, charitable organizations full of dedicated volunteers. These volunteers usually hail from a nearby community or they’ve camped in a park that they’ve grown to love and respect. Today, there are 27 not-for-profit Friends organizations dedicated to enhancing the educational, recreational, research and resource protection mandates of the parks they are affiliated with.
If you want to become a Friends volunteer at your favourite park, contact a Friends group directly. But if your park doesn’t have a Friends group and you are interested in starting one, speak to your local park superintendent. http://www.ontarioparks.com/partnerships/
Some of Ontario Parks’ best events are organized by Friends. Here are two you won’t want to miss in 2014:
Hundreds of regional and community events are hosted annually across Ontario and each year Festivals and Events Ontario honours the top 100. Selected as the “best of the best”, the awards acknowledge the dedication it takes to successfully organize and execute some of the top festivals and events in the world.
This year, thanks to the hard work of our Friends Organizations and Staff, Ontario Parks is delighted to announce that three of our events made it on to this prestigious list. If you are looking to spend some time with friends or family, check out why these three events were singled out as “best-in-class”. Continue reading 3 events in Ontario Parks among Top 100 in the Province
Looking for fun winter outings? You’ve come to the right place.
Across the province, Ontario Parks offer a bounty of winter activities for families. Some host special events like Family Day celebrations. There are parks with cool ice trails through the woods to skate and hundreds of kilometres of park trails to ski. Local ski clubs keep many park trails groomed and track set and winter ski loppets have become annual family gatherings. A couple of snowshoe races are even held every winter on designated snowshoe trails. Tobogganing is also popular. At Arrowhead, park visitors can even borrow a tube to take down a hill groomed especially for snow tubing. Use the Park Locator tool on the Ontario Parks’ website to help you search for winter park amenities or browse past Park Blog post for ideas. Here are some other helpful sources to get you started:
A question posed to me by my three year old daughter on a cold and blustery January afternoon. It’s a simple enough question but at the time, for the life of me, I had no answer. I don’t quite remember what I ended up answering her but I believe it was along the lines of, “we’ll see.” That question stuck with me and I promised myself that for the rest of the year I’d have an answer for her. So as 2013 progressed, it became a year full of preparing, learning and most importantly, a year full of camping under the stars in some of Ontario’s most beautiful provincial parks.