Students for hire at Ontario Parks!

“Working up north was the most empowering experience of my life.”

19-year-old Katie Baillie-David left the comforts of home last June to drive 10 hours north to the wilds of Nagagamisis Provincial Park, northwest of Timmins. Visitors come from all over the US and Canada to enjoy the remoteness of the park – the fishing, swimming, northern lights and the quiet, unspoiled landscape – and so did Katie.

What she came away with was a life-changing experience.

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How to be a winter wildlife detective

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

With the onset of winter, we often think of nature going into a slumber, but while she slows down there is still lots going on outside. In fact, winter provides a better opportunity to learn what the animals of our fields and forests are up to than do the warmer seasons.

I am, of course, talking about tracking, tracking in the snow.

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The year of high water at Presqu’ile

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

It was a wet year for provincial parks in 2017.

If you visited Lake Ontario this spring, you know water levels reached record highs. By early May, the lake was 10 cm higher than the highest it had ever been since records started in 1918. This is also a full metre higher than average.

The damage this caused has been well-documented. At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, we had flooded facilities, lost land to erosion, and had to close for four weeks in June to prevent more damage to our soggy landscape.

The flood was certainly an inconvenience to us, but what effect did it have on the nature and wildlife of the park?

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Campsite vacancy highlights: May 19-22

It’s not too late to book a campsite for the Victoria Day long weekend!

Across the province, many parks still have a good selection of sites available, especially for tent campers.

Scout out your ideal campsite on our Campsite Browsing/Reservation tool (including pictures of most campsites!), or check out these featured campsites (available as of noon, May 18):

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Frozen falls and other wacky winter water

When most of us picture winter ice, we conjure up mental images of skating rinks and icicles. But did you know there’s a lot of variety in wintry water formations?

From frozen falls to ice volcanoes, winter water is quite a sight to behold:

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A naturalist’s letter to Santa Claus

One of our naturalists left his letter to Santa out on his desk, and we wanted to share a copy, in case anyone out there wants to lend Mr. Claus a hand this year.

Dear Santa,

I don’t really need a lot this year as I have the privilege of working in one of our great provincial parks: Presqu’ile. Perhaps you’ve visited or seen it as you fly over?

It is pretty easy to pick out from the air, sticking into Lake Ontario like it does. We get lots of birds landing here on migration to rest, which many people like to come and see. You’d be welcome to have a break here too.

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Christmas at Presqu’ile

Whether you’re perusing for holiday gifts, soaking in the arts, or simply in need of a hot drink after a November hike, it’s the perfect season to visit Presqu’ile Provincial Park!

Christmas at Presqu’ile unfolds November 4, 5, 8, 11 and 12, 2017. Presented by the Friends of Presqu’ile Park, this annual event features wares from more than 150 of Ontario’s artisans, artists and crafters.

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Billions travel Ontario’s migration superhighways

Today’s post comes from Brad Steinberg, our Natural Heritage Education and Learning Coordinator. An avid birder, Brad identifies several “migration superhighways” and the role provincial parks play in protecting Canada’s Important Bird Areas. 

Being stuck in traffic sucks. Especially with young kids.

This sentiment recently ran through my head while mired in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, Ontario. (My conclusion was reinforced when my son loudly announced his urgent need for a bio-break.)

But as frustrating as highways can be; they are vitally important to us, providing a reliable route from one place to another.

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5 questions with an ops tech

Welcome to our “5 Questions” series! We chat with park staff around the province to give you an inside look at what it’s like to work at Ontario Parks.

Rachel Windsor has worked in Ontario Parks for six years. She started as a summer maintenance student for two seasons, then moved over to the park store at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. She trained under the park store manager for a season before taking over that role the following year.

Since 2015, Rachel has been acting in the Ops Tech role, taking the lead on the maintenance team and making sure park operations run smoothly.

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