The Ontario Parks system is over a century old and provides outdoor recreational experiences to over 10 million visitors each year.
Guests come from all across the globe to indulge in ecologically sustainable recreation opportunities in a variety of outdoor environments, and those fortunate enough to live in the province consider the Ontario Parks system to be an extension of their own backyards
Popular activities include canoeing, swimming, fishings, hiking, birdwatching, trail riding, picnicking, wildlife viewing, photography, and much more. Whether you’re a resident of Ontario or a future visitor, now is a great time to take a look at a few of the summer activities offered by Ontario Parks.
Following is a small list of offerings you can look forward to enjoying this summer.
Discovery Drop Ins — Multiple Parks
Discover Ranger ButtonDiscovery Drop Ins is a two-month program beginning the end of June and lasting until the first of September. Each park provides young wilderness enthusiasts with a Discovery Activity Book which they can use as a guideline to their explorations. The program also offers weekly events which may vary depending on the particular park in which they’re being held. Participants also have the opportunity to earn a Discovery Ranger Button and to take the Ranger Pledge. Participating parks include Point Farms, Inverhuron, Port Burwell, Craigleith, Selkirk, Long Point, Turkey Point, Sauble Falls, and Earle Rowe.
Family Fishing Week — Multiple Parks
Family Fishing Week provides Canadian residents without fishing licenses with the opportunity to fish between June 29 and July 7. Ontario Parks also has a TackleShare program where those without gear can borrow it for free during Family Fishing Week. Sauble Falls, John E. Pearce, Earl Rowe, Wheatley, Craigleith, Pinery, Forks of the Credit, Bronte Creek, and Awenda are some of the parks participating in this nation-wide event.
Learn to Fish — Earl Rowe
Learn to Fish at Earl Rowe is a two-hour fishing workshop designed to introduce novice fishers to the thrill of sports fishing. This class is available to people of all ages and covers basic fish anatomy, fishing regulations, and safety tips.
Children must be accompanied by an adult in order to participate. This free class includes hands-on fishing with gear available for use by those in attendance after the teaching portion is over. This class is available at various days and times from June 29 to August 18.
Yoga in the Park with Stacey! — Bronte Creek
Outdoor yoga sessions will be available beginning July 2 through August 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. at Bronte Creek. All levels are welcome, and pre-registration is not required. Although there is no additional fee for the class, the usual park entry fee applies.
Healthy Parks Healthy People Day — Multiple Parks
Ontario Provincial Parks Health People Celebration happens every year on the third Friday in July. Attendees learn about the link between good personal health and spending time in thriving green spaces. Access to all parks in the Ontario Parks System is free on this day.
Kincardine Scottish Festival — Inverhuron
This award-winning festival has been bringing a taste of the highlands to Canadian residents and visitors alike for 20 years. The festivities last three days and three nights and feature cultural workshops, dancing, athletic events, genealogy seminars, and performances by 30 Scottish pipe bands from across the North American continent.
Savanna Fest — Pinery
Held on July 20, Savanna Fest is a day-long celebration designed to increase general awareness and appreciation of Canada’s biggest remain oak savanna stand. Savanna Fest passports are included with regular park admission, and the event runs from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Christmas in July — Bronte Creek
Join other Bronte Creek campers in mid-season silliness by decoration your tent, camp trailer, or RV with festive Christmas lights and decorations. You’ll see visitors dressed like Santa and his elves as well as reindeer and other Christmas season icons. Feel free to get creative during this three-day event. It starts on July 24 and lasts until July 26.
History Weekend — Presqu’ile
Discover Presqu’ile’s rich heritage during History Weekend on the first weekend of the month. Living history demonstrations, a ghost walk, a fashion featuring the attire of Canada’s earlier days. Other features include a boat-building bee for kids and old-school field games.
Friends of Awenda Annual Corn Roast — Awenda
The Friends of Awenda will be hosting their annual corn roast this year on August 16. Visitors can enjoy a cash burger barbecue starting at 6:30 p.m. followed by free corn on the cob for everyone from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. This year’s celebration falls on the park’s 40th anniversary and will include activities such as storytelling and informal living history demonstrations.
Rondeau’s Reptile Day— Rondeau
Whether you’re a reptile aficionado or simply want to learn more about them, Rondeau’s Reptile Day is your chance to spend the day with Rondeau’s reptile research term. Activities include guided hikes, programs and crafts for kids, a barbecue at lunch, and a chance to participate in Rondeau’s famous Adopt-a-Turtle Program.
Spruce Lane Farmhouse – Ghost Walk — Bronte Creek
After the sun goes down on August 18, visitors to Bronte Creek can enjoy a guided ghost walk through a Victorian home that’s over a century old. Reservations aren’t required for this spooky event.
Pass Holder Appreciation Day — Bronte Creek
All those who have an Ontario Parks Vehicle Permit Pass are welcome to visit Bronte Creek on August 24 for a day of fun and ativities. The vehicle pass includes everyone who’s in the car, so feel free to load it up with as many friends and family members it can safely hold.
Annual Kids Fishing Derby — Wheatley
This two-day fishing derby for kids age 15 and under happens from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, and 8 a.m. to noon on the following Sunday. Prizes are given to all entrants.
Balsam Lake Farmers Market — Balsam Lake
Now in its fourth year, Balsam Lake Farmers Market features a variety of locally made arts-and-crafts items such as soaps, home decor items, lawn ornaments as well as baked goods and fresh fruits and vegetables grown by nearby farmers. This event happens every Sunday from early July through late August.