Ontario Parks

Ontario Parks are vast largely unspoilt wilderness area's that are inhabited by a multitude of wildlife. All offer almost every outdoor pursuit imaginable with fabulous scenery.

Many of the six National and 280 Provincial parks have information centers staffed by knowledgeable parks staff. Some also run educational interpretive programs mainly aimed at the children but good fun for adults too.

The six National parks (Bruce Peninsula, Fathom Five National Marine Park, Georgian Bay Islands, Point Pelee, Pukaskwa, St. Lawrence Islands) are administered and staffed by Parks Canada. You will need a Park pass to enter any of these parks - these passes are valid for any National Park in Canada.

The 280 Provincial parks are administered by Ontario Parks who are a branch within the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Their mission statement is

"To ensure that Ontario's provincial parks protect significant natural, cultural, and recreational environments, while providing ample opportunities for visitors to participate in recreational activities."

Some Parks are classed as "Operated" which means they are staffed, a fee is payable for the use and offer facilities on site. The rest are classed as "non operated" which are unstaffed,free and offer extremely limited facilities.

The Ontario Parks website linked above gives all the information on the Provincial Parks including a detailed breakdown of all the fees payable from day use through to camping.

As mentioned in the mission statement, protection and conservation are prime responsibilities of the Park staff and users. To learn more about conservation efforts and how you can make a difference go to the Conservation Ontario website.

Some of the Ontario Parks are larger than actual countries with the Killarney and Algonquin parks being the most famous. Killarney is described as The crown jewel of Ontario's Parks, whilst Algonquin is over 100 years old. The Polar bear Provincial park is the largest at over 24,000 square kilometres.

All offer tremendous adventures, exploring and general vacations in areas of outstanding natural beauty. There is a plentiful and diverse range of wildlife to see and learn about and is a fantastic education for kids and adults alike!

I'll finish this page with the same advice as the other parks pages - Do Not feed the wildlife, take nothing but photo's and leave nothing but footprints. Most of all - have a great time!