Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

2018 marks the 125th anniversary of Ontario Parks!

Preparing to celebrate 125 years of parks had us searching through our archives for old photographs and documents. Throughout the year, we will share our discoveries in a series of OP125 blogs.

This month, we take a look at how our annual park guides have evolved over the decades…

Park guides through the years.

The park guide is an essential part of any trip to Ontario parks and has been printed in different formats over the years, from fold-out maps to brochures.


This park guide dates back to 1957. Back then we only had 26 provincial parks! As you can see, the “Ontario Parks” brand did not exist. Additionally, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry was known as the Department of Lands and Forests.

black brochure with photos of activities titled "The Provincial Parks of Ontario"Park Guide, 1957


This park guide came out a few years later. By then, Ontario parks had grown to 58 provincial parks. You can see the popularity of car and RV camping reflected in the design!

tan brochure with orange line drawings "So you want to go camping"Park Guide, 1964


This majestic owl has covered the parks guide since 1982. At that time, the governing body of Ontario Parks was known as the Ministry of Natural Resources.

light orange brochure with owl imagePark Guide, 1982


The iconic La Cloche Mountains of Killarney Provincial Park star on the cover of the 1987 parks guide. In the background, beautiful white quartzite ridges can be seen peeking out from the trees.

See also  A green summer at Bon Echo

family hiking in KillarneyPark Guide, 1987


1993 was a special year for Ontario Parks as we celebrated our centennial. We celebrated with a special centennial logo, as you can see on the cover of the parks guide. In 1993 we had 256 provincial parks, with an area of ​​6.3 million hectares.

White brochure with 3 canoeists on the cover.Park Guide, 1993


This park guide looks a little more familiar than what we see today! Finally the Ontario Parks logo appears and we see the representation of the iconic red canoe.

Flyer with canoe on a rocky outcrop next to the lake.Park Guide, 2004


This year’s park guide is a special edition that unfolds into a park map to help you plan your camping adventures! The map also presents a timeline of the major achievements of Ontario parks over the past 125 years.

park system map with small photos insertedPark Guide, 2018

To learn more about the history of Ontario parks, visit our interactive timeline.