Ontario Provincial Parks
Spend time in the natural beauty
found in Ontario Provincial Parks
There is huge variety in Ontario Provincial Parks in that all differ in size or scope but each one offers something unique for visitors. Whether it is an amazing natural scene or the family roasting marshmallows around the campfire a trip to a Provincial Park of Ontario can bring a lifetime of memories.
At present there are approximately 330 Ontario Provincial Parks in various classes covering over 78,000 square kilometres (30,460 sq. miles) or about 10% of the entire province’s surface area.
The Ontario Parks system began in 1893 with the creation of Algonquin Park and has continued to grow as a branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Its mandate is the protection of significant natural, cultural and recreational environments for recreational use by visitors.
Ontario Parks classification system divides the Ontario provincial parks into the following categories:
- Recreational Parks: Usually have good beaches with camping and additional recreation activities. Most provide other services including: toilets and showers, picnic tables, hiking trails etc. There are currently 65 Provincial Parks listed under this class.
- Natural Environment Parks: These have recreational activities such as swimming and camping but their main focus is to protect the landscapes and special features of the natural surroundings in which they are located. There are currently 80 Provincial Parks listed under this class.
- Cultural Heritage Parks: There are currently 6 Provincial Parks listed under this class whose mandate it is to protect the historical and cultural resources in the outdoor setting in which they are located.
- Nature Reserve Parks: These parks are not really accessible to the public as they have been set up for research and education with their main purpose being to protect distinctive and fragile natural habitats and landforms of the province. There are currently 109 Provincial Parks listed under this class.
- Waterway parks: These parks are along river corridors, some with significant historical value, that provide recreational activities to canoeists and kayakers etc. There are currently 62 Provincial Parks listed under this class.
- Wilderness parks: These parks are mainly undisturbed natural settings in remote areas that are left to nature. There are little if any facilities and most are difficult to reach. There are currently 8 Provincial Parks that are listed under this class.
Ontario Provincial Parks tend to swell with local visitors during the summer months. For Ontario this means from June until Labour Day weekend in September. Unfortunately for others, this also happens to be the best time to visit. Just make sure if you are camping you reserve your campsite in advance as some popular parks do tend to sell out on the weekends.
Provincial Parks in Ontario Canada
Since there are so many Ontario Provincial Parks I will not be able to visit and review them all but I will be adding pages about many that I believe are interesting and may be deserving of your attention during your next Ontario Canada visit. I will list facilities and activities available and any other special features that make a particular park appealing.
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
The granddaddy of all Provincial Parks occupies a large green area on any Ontario map. To put it simply, it is huge! Algonquin Provincial Park deserves its own page on this site as it encompasses so much with its range of activities and stunning scenery. To read more about the park visit my Algonquin Provincial Park page.
Located just south of nearby Algonquin Park it is actually the second largest wilderness park in southern Ontario and is located just 2 hours northeast of Toronto. Catering to those who wish to partake in an authentic Canadian wilderness experience it is a "must" destination for avid outdoor enthusiasts. Get all the information you need about the park on my Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
Sandbanks Provincial Park
With miles of white and golden sand beaches this spectacular park located just 2.5 hours east of Toronto on Quinte's Isle is truly one of the province's gems. A destination most visitors should journey to get all the information you need about the park on my Sandbanks Provincial Park
Ojibway Provincial Park
Located just south of the small community of Sioux Lookout in Northern Ontario's Sunset Country, this beautiful natural environment park is centred on Little Vermilion Lake, part of the historic English River waterway system that links Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba to Lake Superior. A great place to spend a day or two, get all the information you need about the park on my Ojibway Provincial Park
Petroglyphs Provincial Park
Located just south of nearby Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park this is one of the most spritual locations in the province for Ontario's First Nations peoples. Containing the largest collection of aboriginal petroglyphs in all of North America it is the place where aborginals believe the "spirits talk to them". Get all the information you need about the park on my Petroglyphs Provincial Park
Polar Bear Provincial Park
Ontarios largest and most northerly park is home to the bulk of the province's polar bear population. Remote and little visited, advanced planning must be undertaken for those widhing to visit. For those that do, it will become a memory of a lifetime. Visit my Polar Bear Provincial Park
page for more information.
Missinaibi Provincial Park
A huge waterway and wildlife park on the historic Missinaibi River, the longest undeveloped waterway in the Province. A canoeists paradise it is rich in heritage and also has a unique collection of aboriginal pictographs. Find out everything you need to know about this amazing park on my Missinaibi Provincial Park
Wheatley Provincial Park
Located along the Lake Erie north shore near Point Pelee National Park many visitors use it as a home base for further exploration into the surrounding region as it has the Province's southernmost government run campgrounds. With a large sandy beach it is a major tourist draw in its own right. Find out everything you need to about the park on my Wheatley Provincial Park
Tidewater Provincial Park
This little visited provincial park on the fringes of the arctic sits in the estuary of the Moose River just upstream from James Bay. A collection of mudflats and tidal marshes it is one of the most unique parks in the Ontario Provincial Park system. If you are in the area and planning a visit, get all the information you need about the park on my Tidewater Provincial Park
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