A few months ago we launched the #MyParkMyHistory campaign where we invite our visitors to gather around our virtual campfire to share their favorite memories and experiences in the park.
And boy, did you deliver!
So pull up your virtual folding chair, grab a marshmallow or a hot dog on a roasting stick, and let’s chat by the fireplace.
Today we’re sharing some of our favorite #MyParkMyStory memories submitted by you!
Let’s start from the beginning:
What is your first camping memory?
“It’s not the first, but it’s close. 1979 at Two Rivers Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park.”
“It’s not the first time I’ve camped, but I think it was the first time I’ve camped in a provincial park.
This was in Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park in 1997 (I was 10) when I went camping with my Guide group (I’m the one wearing the Pooh shirt).
I now live near this park and visit it frequently for day trips, and it was the first place we took our son camping when he was one year old.”
“I remember camping when I was very young. This was our first camping trip to Killbear Provincial Park – summer of 1979.
“It’s me and my older brother… I still love camping to this day and last summer I was finally able to take my daughters to Killbear as it was my fondest childhood memory.”
– Catalina Espinoza
“My parents had a camper at Balsam Lake Provincial Park for years when I was a kid.
I didn’t go car camping until I was 11 years old. The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation took us places during my teenage years. Massasauga Provincial Park, Algonquin Provincial Park, and Temagami River Provincial Park are the ones I remember.
Now I camp every summer and make an effort to visit new parks every year!
– Cayla Pool
“The classic 70’s camping trip. A VW camper. Sharbot Lake Provincial Park, May 1975.”
“I started camping and visiting Ontario parks when I was very young, less than a year old. My family and I visited a variety of parks each year.
Some we return to almost every year, like Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, Algonquin Provincial Park, and MacGregor Point Provincial Park, others we’ve only visited once or a few times so far during day trips or road trips through Ontario , like Killbear. Provincial Park, Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, Voyageur Provincial Park and Restoule Provincial Park.
It was always a lot of fun to camp in an Ontario park or just spend the day there when I was a kid, and it still is to this day! There are so many interesting things to see and do in Ontario parks, beautiful scenery to enjoy, interesting trails to explore, important history to learn, and fun and informative park programs to attend. I’ve been to about 38 parks so far and hope to explore many more!”
– Josie Dinsmore, Adventures with Josie
Now that you’ve gained some experience exploring parks in Ontario…
Which park do you prefer?
“Canoeing, camping, relaxing by lakes, camping in the countryside, winter camping.
Algonquin Provincial Park has the best scenery by far.
Photographed on a trip to the countryside in 2018.”
“I fell in love with solo camping. I bought a ’77 truck and hit the parks in southeastern Ontario. A favorite was Sandbanks Provincial Park on a wet and cold closing weekend.
There is no one around. Trails and beaches to myself. It’s time to read, take a nap, and reconnect.”
“Port Burwell Provincial Park!
I’ve been camping since I was a baby (I’ll be 42 this summer), we used to occupy 4-7 sites between aunts, uncles and grandparents!
Now only my mother, my brother, my sister and a cousin go. But it’s always a good time. We love the park, we love the beach and we have seen many, many changes over the years.
We often reminisce about the past: movie nights in the amphitheater, coloring contests, trails, the rope bridge on the playground, craft mornings with the park staff, when the park had only two sections, there was no hydroelectric plant, was evacuated due to a big storm, and many more.
I know Al Fountain and I like to go and have our own kids experience the new things we have to offer!
– Isabel Source
“Pancake Bay Provincial Park is my absolute favorite. I worked there last fall on the front door.
I have also worked in Obatanga Provincial Park and White Lake Provincial Park as maintenance in the summer season. 2008/2009. But Pancake Bay beach is like no other.”
“Pinery Provincial Park – my husband and I grew up near it.
He went there every year since he was born with his parents, and then we went every year except one or two for the 30-plus years we’ve been married.
We also camped there for many years with a group of friends and family. And we were part of the hostess and hostess program for a few years. “So many wonderful memories there.”
We can all agree that access to green spaces has been an integral part of our mental health over the past few years.
How have the parks been there for you during difficult times?
“I’m 15 minutes from Presqu’ile Provincial Park. My (almost) daily sanctuary.
My old friend of more than 20 years. “I am lucky to live where I am.”
“Ontario Parks… Our PPs are essential to our well-being. They have been our spring, summer and fall RV destination for almost a decade. They are good for the soul!
–Heather Lynn Pepin Kendry
“With a demanding work schedule directly related to COVID-19, I was able to take some much-needed outdoor therapy time at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park or Quetico Provincial Park.”
“I think this pandemic has shown us how important our provincial parks and green spaces are, and that we need more!”
“Ontario Parks has been a lifeline during the pandemic.
Being able to camp, enjoy a campfire, the smell of the pines and listen to the birds singing has been good medicine. Congratulations on the great job you have done keeping the parks open safely.”
We can’t thank you enough for sharing your stories with us!
Here’s to countless more memories with your loved ones in our beautiful natural spaces.