collage of female staff members

Women of Ontario Parks

Happy International Women’s Day!

At Ontario Parks, we simply couldn’t do without our female team members. They work as biologists, instructors, wardens, superintendents, planners, managers and more.

Here’s the inside scoop on our staff:

Southeast Zone Planners

collage of Ontario Parks staff
Top row (l-r): Sue Grigg, Lesley Baird.  Bottom row (l-r): Kendra Couling, Angela Adkinson, Kim Harris

The women of the Southeast Zone planning team demonstrate a shift in female planning leadership at Ontario Parks over the past 15 years.

Their multidisciplinary backgrounds and diverse skill-sets make them a strong team that is collaborative, passionate, and dedicated to the work they do protecting resources through planning. The opportunity to work with colleagues at the park and provincial level, and engage Indigenous communities, stakeholders, and the public on a variety of projects and unique landscapes makes this a rewarding role.

“We are all proud to tell people that we get to work towards protecting beautiful areas and special elements of our province in our job with Ontario Parks. We feel grateful to work with so many amazing women who regularly inspire us to learn and grow in our careers.”

Christine Prince, Assistant Superintendent

Christine poses with snowman and colleaugue

Currently working as Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s assistant superintendent, Christine has been part of the Ontario Parks family for 26 years.

She works to keep the park safe for our visitors, and her projects range from hazard tree removal to training over 80 summer staff each summer.

Brenda Verkuil, Lead Park Cleaner

Brenda cleaning washroom sink

For almost 20 years, Brenda has been keeping the washrooms at Port Burwell Provincial Park sparkling clean.

Brenda loves the park, her job, and her team. She is very proud to consistently receive positive compliments on the cleanliness of all the facilities she works so hard to look after!

Elizabeth McRae, Assistant Park Superintendent

Elizabeth working with a map

Camping in provincial parks was such a big part of Elizabeth’s childhood. She started her career as an Ontario Ranger at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

In 2004, Elizabeth landed her dream job as a fish and wildlife technician in Algonquin Provincial Park. Sixteen years later, she is still in Algonquin, having worked in numerous positions including the business services supervisor, procurement and contract management coordinator, and now overseeing operations on the Highway 60 Corridor.

When she’s not working, Elizabeth spends all her time fishing, skiing, and camping in the interior of the park with her family.

“I feel so fortunate to work in such a special place. My favourite part of my job is providing leadership and support to new staff, and watching as they succeed in achieving their potential.

“It is so encouraging to see many more women in leadership positions in Ontario Parks — and in the larger OPS — than when I started.”

Jess Stillman, Discovery Outreach Leader

Jess in historial pioneer costume, holding apple

Currently at Bronte Creek Provincial Park, Jess is a twelve-year Ontario Parks veteran.

Jess develops and leads school outreach programs, helping to reach new audiences for Ontario Parks, and connecting the next generation to nature.

Sheila Wiebe, Marketing and Education Specialist

Sheila in reflective vest petting 2 dogs

Sheila has devoted 32 years of service to Ontario Parks.

At Bronte Creek Provincial Park, she works to develop local partnerships to bring visitors new and innovative activities, like plein air painting, tai chi and yoga.

Agnese Bortolussi, Assistant Park Superintendent

Aggie standing between to other staff members

Aggie has been an Ontario Parks staple since 1986. She works at Sandbanks, North Beach, and Lake on the Mountain provincial parks.

Aggie has been involved in all aspects of the park operations, from working at the gates to helping at special events, and from traffic control to planting marram grass.

“Getting hired by Ontario Parks was like a dream come true.  After 34 years working in parks, I can still honestly say that I love my job and enjoy coming to work.

“The best part of my job has always been the people that I work with. As hectic and challenging as it can be here at Sandbanks, the staff make all the difference.  This place has been like my second home. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”

Read more about Aggie’s Ontario Parks career here.

Chris Hague, Park Biologist

Woman holds up fern in forest

Chris Hague has worked as the Park Biologist for Woodland Caribou Provincial Park for almost a decade. Chris has worked on fire ecology research, caribou surveys, vegetation management planning, and biodiversity monitoring.

Her calm and thoughtful approach to both her job and the people she works with is inspiring. We all benefit from her love and dedication for the Woodland Caribou landscape.

“Hands down, I work for the best park in the province.”

A huge thank you to the amazing women working hard to protect our provincial parks!