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. This recent Insider article reveals some of the important work they do.
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:
Killarney Provincial Park celebrates its 50th anniversary with its first annual Group of Seven Festival, July 18-20, 2014.
We can thank Group of Seven members, A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael for helping to create Killarney Provincial Park. Both painters played a role in its creation. They also painted plein air in this park A LOT. There are many special activities planned for this year. Visitors can hike to sites where the painters sketched their famous scenes or join a plein air art lesson where they can learn how use a ‘Hot Mush Style’ similar to what A.Y. Jackson used in his Killarney scenes. The Associate Director from the McMichael Art Collection will present the art of A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael. Other park activities are also planned. http://friendsofkillarneypark.ca/joomla/
Wasaga under Siege, August 14-17, 2014
Wasaga under Siege commemorates the actual Battle of Nottawasaga Bay during the War of 1812 between Americans, British and First Nations. The 1814 battle resulted in an American victory and the sinking of the British schooner, H.M.S Nancy, off of what is now Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. On August 14, Wasaga under Siege will mark 200 years to the day the 1814 battle was fought. The battle led to the modern day creation of Nancy Island Historic Site (housing the hull of the ship) in what is now Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. 300 re-enactors plan to be at the park for the four-day festival and they will re-create War of 1812 tactics, historical battles, marine assault landings, and artillery. They will also become 19th century merchants, artisans and period musicians and entertainers during their stay. All official commemorative activities are planned for August 14 and will take place between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. During this time, admission to the Nancy Island Historic Site will be free to the public. Visit http://www.wasagaundersiege1812.com/ for further details.
Search other 2014 park events by park name on the Ontario Parks web site https://www.ontarioparks.com/events/