Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
The history of the picnic in Rondeau

Today’s blog was written by Callum Barnes, Discovery guide at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Established in 1894, Rondeau Provincial Park has been home to many activities and adventures over the years.

A quintessential family activity keeps our visitors coming back for seconds: having a picnic.

Picnics have been a popular activity in the park for generations, dating back to the early 20th century.

So how did the picnic boom in Rondeau begin?

The expansion of the automobile

The picnic boom in Rondeau began many years ago with the widespread expansion of the automobile industry in the 1920s.

Having access to vehicles for the first time allowed families to travel from further distances to the park.

Historical photo of cars in a field.

The Ford Model T was the first family car and offered Canadian families the opportunity to explore the province.

Visitors flocked to Rondeau to enjoy a cookout with their loved ones, against the backdrop of the park’s natural beauty.

Let the boom come

Once visitors arrived, they gathered in large masses on the picnic grounds that Rondeau hosted near the gates.

With plenty to do for our visitors, the park became a hotspot for activities, food, and fun!

Historical photo of a family picnic.

During this time, many flocked to see what the park had to offer both on the beach, in the bay, and everything in between.

New facilities were created to accommodate the influx of visitors, such as cooking huts and picnic shelters.

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A cooking shelter in Rondeau, 1956

New toilet facilities and activities for campers were developed to provide an exciting picnic experience for everyone.

On a picnic from then until now

In 1966, Rondeau reached an all-time high in visitors: 820,000 in a single year. Now that’s a lot of hikers!

A picnic shelter, 1957

The park has developed over time to offer many activities for hikers enjoying time on the peninsula.

Today, visitors continue to gather in Rondeau to picnic and enjoy the park’s beaches, hiking, bird watching, and more.

While many things have changed in the last 100 years, the experience of picnicking in Rondeau remains the same: finding a place to lay out your picnic blanket, whether on a picnic table, shelter or picnic area , and enjoy anything from a small snack to a big meal with your loved ones.

Everyday leisure

A picnic in Rondeau is more than a meal; It’s a chance to escape everyday life and connect with the people you love most, while enjoying the outdoors.

Family sitting at a picnic table.

The park offers a safe and inclusive experience for families, couples and individual picnickers to stay and relax.

Providing picnic grounds for current and future generations allows more visitors to connect and develop relationships with the natural world.

While they enjoy their food, they also learn about the value of parks and the importance of ecological integrity.

At Rondeau Provincial Park, we are honored to bring people together outdoors from the 1920s to the present.

We hope to provide an amazing place to picnic and enjoy recreational activities for generations to come!

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Ready to plan your Rondeau picnic?