Preparing to celebrate our 125th anniversary leads us to review archives in search of old photographs and documents. Throughout the year, we will share our discoveries in our OP125 blog series.
This month, we take a look at a collection of Ontario Parks vehicle permits dating back to 1957. Purchased and displayed on the front dashboard of a vehicle, these permits would provide people with unlimited daily vehicle entry to all of Ontario’s provincial parks. Ont.
The oldest vehicle permit currently in the collection is from 1957. The permit features the Ontario coat of arms and a classic depiction of a camping scene.
The Department of Lands and Forests oversaw provincial parks until they were reorganized in 1972 to become the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The 1959 permit highlights Ontario’s provincial flower, the White Trillium. The White Trillium was adopted as a provincial flower in 1937.
In 1963, the beautiful Monarch Butterfly appeared prominently on the vehicle’s registration certificate. In 2008, the monarch was listed as a species of special concern on the List of Species at Risk in Ontario.
In 1967, of course, Canada’s national animal, the beaver, was illustrated.
In 1970, Polar Bear Provincial Park was created and this achievement appeared on that year’s vehicle permit. Polar Bear is the northernmost provincial park in Ontario, as well as the largest at 24,000 square kilometers.
The 1973 vehicle permit is the only circular design permit in the collection.
The first photographs
1974 is when a photograph was first used on a permit instead of a stylistic work of art.
Can you see anything wrong with the guys on this boat based on the 1976 permit?
You guessed it: they are missing personal flotation devices (PFDs)!
This photo was taken at Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park, a day-use park located just over an hour from Thunder Bay. Today there is a trail and boardwalk that connects to observation platforms that provide spectacular views of the canyon.
There’s nothing like playing the guitar surrounded by impressive geology…they must be playing a rock song 😉
Included in this permit is the iconic Old Woman Bay in Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Did you know that Lake Superior was one of Ontario’s first eight provincial parks? It was established in 1944.
Parks 100th anniversary
1993 marked the centennial of Ontario’s provincial parks. The anniversary was commemorated on this permit with the centennial logo and an old photograph.
Capturing 90s fashion
This permit from the early ’90s shows a group of hikers in Silent Lake Provincial Park. Have you walked these trails?
In 1996, Ontario Parks adopted a new business operating model symbolized by a new name “Ontario Parks” and a new logo.
Starting in 1998, the logo appears on vehicle permits. Both permits feature classic ’90s camping style!
Our partners over the years
Over the years, several corporate partners have supported Ontario Parks and have been featured on vehicle permits.
Thank you very much to all our partners!
Today’s Vehicle Passes
Featuring the iconic moose, the 2014 permit is the first designed to hang from a car’s rearview mirror.
The 2018 vehicle permit includes an old photograph of Ontario’s oldest provincial park: Algonquin.
Have you purchased your 2018 vehicle permit pass?
Make 2018 the year to cross parks off your bucket list! Special events, programs and campaigns will be held across the province to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ontario Parks.
Visit OntarioParks.com/op125 for more information about events and our history.
You can apply for an annual or seasonal park pass by clicking here to visit the Park Store.