Working at Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Kathleen Boston, a Discovery Leader at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. 

Three years ago, I applied to spend my summer working at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. It was one of the best decisions I ever made!

Thankfully I was chosen to work as a gate attendant for my first year. In my second year I moved to the maintenance department, and now, in my third year, I am part of the Discovery Program team.

Working in each position at Pancake Bay has taught me a lot about the park. I am now familiar with the many different aspects of working at a provincial park. Before I started here I didn’t know how much I would get out of this job. Three years later I’m so thankful for the opportunities it has provided me.

Hello, welcome to Pancake Bay

Working as a gate attendant during my first year was a great way to learn about the park and to get a feel as to what Pancake Bay is all about.

Everyone that enters has to stop by the gatehouse before continuing through the park. This makes it a great place to meet people and hear their stories.

It’s a lot of talking to people, providing directions, sales, and most importantly, listening. One of my favourite parts about being a gate attendant was getting to meet people from all over Ontario, Canada, and even different countries around the world. They all come with fascinating stories to tell.

At the end of the summer, I decided it was time for a change of positions. Next summer I decided maintenance is what I would like to try next, and I’m happy I chose that.

Working up a sweat

During the summer of 2018, I found out that being a maintenance worker was the perfect fit for me! You get to be outside all day, every day, and you are always doing something. I loved that about the job.

As a maintenance student, I got to work on several different projects around the park. My duties include cleaning comfort stations and privies, painting buildings, cutting grass, making fire pits and operating different types of tools and vehicles, including our 1-ton truck!

Maintenance was a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun. I liked it so much that I ended up staying and working as a manual worker throughout the fall,  where I got to see even more of what happens behind the scenes of Pancake Bay.

A little perk from working in the fall was seeing just how beautiful the park was decorated in fall colours! I learned what it takes to close up the park for the season which was interesting to me. So much work goes into ensuring we are ready for the winter season.

Landscape of Pancake Bay during the fall season.
Fall colours at Pancake Bay

At the end of the season, I decided, once again, that I wanted to try something else. So I signed up to work for the Discovery Program the following year.

Adventure all day, every day

Switching to Discovery was a change, but a great one. Since I started working at Pancake Bay a part of me always wanted to be a part of the Discovery team. I used to be a camp counselor and always loved working with kids. This year that dream came true!

Being part of Discovery gives you lots of opportunities to get to know the customers, answer questions, entertain visitors, and best of all the chance to be very creative!

As part of the Discovery team, you have to be organized and always planning. As a future event planner, I love planning events, thinking of and preparing all the little details, and of course taking part in the activities! It was like the position was made for me!

My favourite part of being on the discovery team at Pancake Bay is that I get to help plan, execute, and participate in Adventure days! This is our biggest weekend here with tons of games, activities, and even a parade!

Staff group photo all dressed up for adventure days.
Adventure Days group photo

What comes next?

Working at Pancake has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have made some life long friends who I get to make memories with every day. I’m so grateful for having experienced all the different student positions every year.

I wonder what department will be next!

Pancake Bay Provincial Park is approximately 1 hour north from Sault Ste. Marie. The beautiful sunsets alone are worth the drive out here!