Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

That’s 125 years of pitching tents, roaring campfires, delicious s’mores, stunning sunsets, star-filled nights, and unforgettable adventures.

It all began in 1893 with the creation of Canada’s first provincial park, Algonquin. Today, Ontario Parks protects 340 provincial parks, covering just under 8% of Ontario – an area larger than Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined!

We invite you to celebrate our anniversary throughout the year with special events, cultural heritage programs, stewardship activities, a concert series, and a series of legacy projects. Make 2018 the year to visit our province’s incredibly beautiful landscapes, continue traditions and make new memories.

What’s happening?

Then and now galleries

We have uploaded some interesting historical photographs to our website. Click to drag the slider back and forth to get a look from then and now In your favorite parks!

Old photo of train connected with pine forest.Algonquin Provincial Park: circa 1913 and 2017 seen at Cache Lake.

Stay tuned to our blog for more current content throughout 2018.

Timeline

How did Ontario Parks grow from one park to more than three hundred? Visit our interactive timeline to learn more about the history of Ontario’s provincial parks system.

map with historical slider showing the creation dates of the parks

Special events

On tour throughout the province, singer-songwriter David Archibald will visit 30 parks. David Archibald will perform new songs celebrating the natural and cultural history of Ontario parks. Stay tuned for tour dates and locations.

Wakami WailersThe Wakami Wailers

Longtime camper favorites “The Wakami Wailers” are named after the northern Ontario park where the group of musicians gathered as park staff in the late 1980s. The group will debut new music this July.

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Ontario’s parks are rich in art history. From Indigenous artists to the Group of Seven, the landscapes of provincial parks inspire the creation of outstanding works of art. An exciting new arts-based program designed to connect people with nature through hands-on art activities will be offered in parks across the province.

person drawing

The public will be invited to contribute, learn and participate in management programs to help protect biodiversity in provincial parks. Stewardship programs include BioBlitz events, invasive species removal, and wildlife monitoring, to name a few.

children participating in bioblitz BioBlitz 2017 at Sleeping Giant

Parks will announce dates and details of the special. OP125 Event Page. Stay tuned!

Donation Program

Many Ontarians are not aware that our provincial parks system relies on admission and user fees to fund the experience visitors receive when exploring these parks, and that 100% of the fees collected go directly to the Ontario Parks System.

For example, the small fee you pay to enjoy Algonquin Provincial Park goes directly to funding the amenities and services (rest stations, picnic areas, and campgrounds) you enjoy while visiting the park.

User fees also pay for Ontario parks’ planning, protection, research and education initiatives.

To celebrate the 125th anniversary, Ontario Parks is launching an online donation program. The public will be invited to contribute to the parks by donating to a number of legacy projects.

screenshot of donation website, option to donate to different projects

Each legacy project focuses on making improvements to accessibility, trails, interpretive displays or recreational facilities in provincial parks.

Legacy projects will be carried out in:

traveling exhibition

traveling exhibition

A traveling exhibition will tour Ontario! The exhibition highlights and celebrates the achievements of Ontario parks in protection, recreation, education and science over the past 125 years. It will be held at various park visitor centers throughout 2018.

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special merchandise line

t-shirts, pennants, bottles and mugs

Nature lovers can show their park pride with a line of vintage-themed products from Ontario Parks. It will be available in park stores next spring.

Sharing and telling digital stories

Special offers, blogs and a social media series will be developed throughout 2018 to share our story and provide platforms for the public to share their stories and memories of Ontario parks.

For more information, visit: OntarioParks.com/op125