Today we’re going to take a look at some Ontario park entrance signs and how they’ve evolved over the ages!
Each park is unique and so are many park entrance signs. With too many to choose from, this blog highlights a sign from each zone in the Ontario Parks system.
FFrom the field to the forest
Emily Provincial Park It is located near Peterborough, in the heart of the Kawarthas.
It’s hard to see, but in the historic photo below, the sign says, “Department of Lands and Forests” below “Emily Provincial Park.” The Department of Lands and Forests oversaw provincial parks until they were reorganized in 1972 to become the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Emily Provincial Park, then
Before Emily became a provincial park in 1957, the land was farm fields. As you can see in the historical image, there are very few trees.
Emily Provincial Park, now
Initially, with some help from park staff, trees and shrubs were planted along the park boundary to renature the land. You can see in the modern image of the park entrance that the park has been transformed from field to forest.
Pigeon River from Emily Provincial Park Pier
A reminder of days gone by
Located in northwestern Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Superior, Neys Provincial Park It is rich in cultural history. The signs in Neys are mounted on old boom logs used during logging days to indicate the history of logging in the area.
Neys Provincial Park, then
The sign above shows the old Ontario logo and says “Ministry of Natural Resources” – the Ontario Parks brand didn’t exist yet!
Neys Provincial Park, now
The most recent signage at the entrance to Neys Provincial Park emphasizes the current Ontario Parks logo, adopted in 1996.
Neys Provincial Park
Different representations – look closely
Samuel de Champlain Provincial ParkThe original entrance sign is from 1966. To the right of the sign is a depiction of Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer and founder of New France. Samuel de Champlain was one of the first Europeans to pass through Mattawa.
Samuel de Champlain, then
In the late 1980s, the depiction of Samuel de Champlain on the entrance sign was changed to that of an “anonymous traveler.” A voyageur was chosen to commemorate the culture of the voyageurs: tough, hardworking, boastful and jovial, despite spending 16 hours a day paddling huge birch bark canoes and transporting tons of goods in herniated transports.
Poster of Samuel de Champlain with the representation of an “anonymous traveler”
The Mattawa River was considered the most difficult and dangerous part of the canoe route across Canada, where travelers played a key role in the fur trade for 400 years.
Established in 1970, Chutes Provincial Park It is the only provincial park between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. Marie on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Chutes Provincial Park, then
The original stonework of this entrance sign has stood the test of time.
Chutes Provincial Park, now
Reflecting agricultural heritage
Point Farms Provincial Park is located in southwestern Ontario on Lake Huron. The design of this sign is unique and resembles a barn.
Point Farms Provincial Park, then
This photo was the first version of an entrance sign to Point Farms, taken during the 1970s. The park’s original master plan indicated that park signage should reflect the agricultural theme of the area.
Point Farms Provincial Park, now
To this day, the entrance sign incorporates a barn board that complements the Stirling barn built in 1889 (still in the park).
Point Farms Provincial Park
There were several farms on the property that is now Point Farms Provincial Park. Rows of fences, rows of trees and apple trees remain from these old farms.
Although park signs have changed and evolved over time, the rationale behind the creation of provincial parks has remained constant with the desire to preserve Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage.