Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Ontario Parks we explored this summer

ontario parks
We enjoy spending most of our time outdoors in the summer, visiting different Ontario Parks during our road trips have become a tradition. Having an annual park pass helps to stop by at different parks! Here are a few of the Ontario Parks we explored this summer in the Kawartha, Ottawa Valley, and Sudbury regions: Bon Echo, Petroglyphs, Silent Lake, Frontenac, Windy Lake, French River, and Samuel de Champlain provincial parks.  
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Bon Echo Provincial Park has 20,000 acres of park boundary to protect the diverse ecosystems, human history, and rugged beauty. We went for a day excursion especially to see the Mazinow rock, and once there we found that there is so much to do at this park! 
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The spectacular view of the Mazinaw Rock began forming 1.2 billion years ago is one of the main reasons we wanted to stop by at this park. The rock consists mainly of granite, which was formed by a process called faulting. This 15 km long granite cliff is over 100m above the Mazinow lake. There are over 260 Indigenous pictograph on this rock painted by Algonkian-speaking peoples using red ochre, a substance created by grinding iron rich hematite into a floury powder and mixing it with fish oil or animal fat. The pictographs dates between 300 to 1000 years - these reddish-orange images can be seen just above the waterline. 
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There had been an inn at Bon Echo which was bought by Flora MacDonald Denison, a Toronto feminist in 1910 to create a wilderness retreat inspired by the philosophy of American poet Walt Whitman. The guests were offered painting lessons, amateur theatre, and poetry readings. We can see the 1920 inscription of "Old Walt" commissioned by Flora MacDonald as she supported Whitman's democratic views. Flora's son Merrill Denison inherited the resort in 1921 until its closure in 1928. It burned down in 1936, and now only a few buildings remain, which includes the Visitors Centre. 

We can explore the lake and the rock either on our own or take an interpretative boat tour of the lake for a fee. If you enjoy fishing, Shabomeka Lake and Mazinaw Lake are perfect to fish Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Perch, Pike, and Lake Trout - check with regulations and park office before fishing. They also have opportunities to rock climb, canoe, kayak, a beach area and more. The visitors centre at this park has a wealth of information - a good learning experience! If you plan to stay overnight there are 530 campsites including cabins, yurts, exploration tents, car campsites, canoe and hiking trails accessed backcountry campsites.  
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Petroglyphs Provincial Park has teaching rocks with more than 300 images carved over 1100 year by Indigenous people. We are not allowed to take pictures at this site because it is sacred for Indigenous peoples. 
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We learned a lot about Indigenous culture and their theologies at the Visitors Centre, it is well worth visiting this provincial park to learn about Indigenous culture.
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At the Silent Lake Provincial Park we enjoyed watching the beautiful Silent lake early in the morning. Due to amount of mosquitos we started the hike, but turned back. There are canoes and kayaks which can be rented to enjoy the peaceful Silent lake. 
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Frontenac Provincial Park established in 1974, a place to try wilderness camping and learn outdoor skills. There is something different for every season at Frontenac. This park is recognized as UNESCO  world biosphere reserve as it hosts flora and fauna not often found in other parts of Canada. This park is wonderful place to do backcountry camping.  
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Windy Lake Provincial Park is a park in the Sudbury Region. It was developed as a picnic stopover, and is a popular destination for swimming and camping in Northern Ontario. The shape of the lake was referred to as Makoping by Ojibwa people meaning "place of the bear paw" as they used the shores of Windy Lake for hunting, fishing, and picking berries. 
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We learned a lot about the history of the region and different characters such as Samuel de Champlain and Étienne Brûlé at the French River Provincial Park visitors centre. The French River flows for 105 kilometres from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay. 
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Thousands of years before Europeans arrived, Aboriginal people followed the river to fish, hunt, and trade. During the 1600s this river opened North America to French explorers, and Jesuit missionaries. 
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When fur trade receded, the timber barons took over sending rafts of red and white pine south of the river. French River Provincial Park is a protected place for the Massasauga Rattlesnake. 
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There is a lot to learn by going to the Visitor's Centre at Samuel de Champlain. We learned how the beaver in Ontario was brought to near extinction by the 1840s from as many as 400 million because of intensive trapping for fur trade, which changed the landscape dramatically. 
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With the beavers gone, the dams on cold water streams fell apart and many wetlands and habitat disappeared, which reduced the network of canoe routes. The Anishinabek found it difficult to travel, the food was scarce, and there weren't any fur to trade. 
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We had an amazing time during the 3 hour voyager canoe Chutes Tour at Samuel de Champlain. We started our tour about 10 minutes away from the park at Pimisi Bay. This tour costs $25 per adult and $20 per child. They also offer other tours for shorter time frames and lower fees. 
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The view of the river from different angles, The Talon Chutes waterfall, and all the things we learned about natural and cultural history, geology, biodiversity of the Mattawa River during this guided tour in the canoe and at the hike was superb. Our knowledgable guides, Mathieu and Connor made this tour exciting. 
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Wild blueberries that we enjoyed.
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Geological wonders such as the symmetrical lines in nature.
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Pot holes natural tubs in different shapes and depth.
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Talon Chutes waterfall.
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It was fun experiencing how life would have been for a Voyageur. Although, we learned that a voyageur's life wasn't about singing, drinking, and paddling for fun, rather it was hard as they only earned a modest wage working for Montreal based traders, and many ended their careers disabled because of hard labour and injuries. In 1760 there was a charitable fun established in Montreal for the "relief of disabled and decayed voyageurs". 
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The fur trade on Mattawa river flourished until early 1820s because of the labour of thousands of French Canadians and Aboriginal voyageurs. In the 1850s there were logging camps set up along the river, and in 1885 the Canadian Pacific Railway line ran along the south side of the Mattawa Valley.  

Each year, we enjoy visiting different Ontario Parks to learn about the history of our nation and stories about different people and significant places. Every park is different and unique, with lots to explore! 

All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2019. Please Ask First Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. 

57 comments:

  1. Thank you for blogging about the parks you visited, I have my Ontario Parks passport and plan in the next few years visiting as many as I can. They all are amazing, I love to hike and be outdoors

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  2. The parks are all very beautiful It would be nice to camp and explore all of them.

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  3. I love Ontario Parks, Bon Echo is on my list to visit next year

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  4. My family and I visited Petroglyphs Provincial Park this summer, the kids and I really enjoyed seeing the rock paintings

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  5. Frontenac Provincial Park sounds like an interesting park to visit

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  6. I would love to visit Silent Lake Provincial Park for the beautiful scenery.

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  7. This year I have visited 4 provincial parks and collected stickers and patches from 3, next year I plan to visit a lot more

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  8. wow the 3 hour canoe Chutes Tour at Samuel de Champlain sounds amazing, another adventure to add to my ever growing list

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  9. Thanks very much for these helpful informative reviews & beautiful pics of the parks.

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  10. I really can't wait to explore more Ontario Parks next year

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  11. I would love to go on the 3 hour voyager canoe Chutes Tour at Samuel de Champlain I picked wild blueberries a few years ago with my mom and my sister they are so tasty

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  12. looks like a lot of beautiful parks

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  13. Such beautiful spots! Would love to get out and explore some of them :)

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  14. There are so many beautiful parks to explore.

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  15. Definitely visiting Bon Echo next year, I have heard nothing but great things about this park

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  16. I would love to visit Windy Lake Provincial Park and camp here. It looks like a great place to explore and pick berries

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  17. Ontario is beautiful. There is a new treasure around every corner.

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  18. Ontario is full of amazing parks, can't wait to explore more

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  19. It would be interesting to explore these beautiful parks

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  20. Ontario has so many wonderful natural areas to explore, I can't wait to get out to more parks next year

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  21. The parks are all amazing I would love to visit them

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  22. I love Ontario and I love getting outdoors, we are so blessed to have so many beautiful natural areas

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  23. It would be awesome to explore these beautiful parks

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  24. looks like some beautiful parks to visit

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  25. The parks are amazing it would be awesome to visit them

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  26. I'm working on completely my Ontario Parks passport, I've got a long way to go, but I will enjoy exploring all of them

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  27. if ever visiting Ontario would love to explore the parks! Amazing pics!

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  28. What a gorgeous park! Definitely one to put on my want-to-travel list.

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  29. I would love to go on the 3 hour voyager canoe Chutes Tour at Samuel de Champlain

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  30. thanks these look like wonderful parks to visit

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  31. Awww... looks like a lot of fun.

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  32. We live in such a beautiful part of the world

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  33. It sounds interesting to visit and to learn about the fur trade on Mattawa river

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  34. I would love to see the teaching rocks at Petroglyphs Provincial Park.

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  35. Beautiful photos! I love getting out into nature too.

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  36. I'd love to visit more Provincial Parks, we've hardly been to any! So many beautiful places to explore here in Canada, just have to find the time!

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  37. The wild blueberries you found is awesome! I would love to go exploring with my family. So much to do and see in these parks.

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  38. I would love to explore these beautiful parks

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  39. the parks have great ways of educating their visitors on all sorts of topics, from the way of life for early settlers, aboriginal culture and local flora and fauna

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  40. Pretty neat! So many great things to do in ON in the summer!

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  41. I love exploring different parks. Hiking one of these would be amazing.

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  42. The Silent Lake Provincial Park looks so peaceful I would love to visit

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  43. There are so many beautiful parks here in Ontario.The 3 hour voyager canoe Chutes Tour sounds amazing. I am going to take that tour next summer.

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  44. The French River Provincial Park would be really nice to visit. I think my family would really enjoy a trip there.

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  45. Its very interesting how the Algonkian-speaking people used red ochre to make the pictographs

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  46. Ontario is so big and there is so much to explore! What a great summer of exploring you had.

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  47. The Pot holes natural tubs would be interesting to see.

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  48. I'd love to see the Talon Chutes waterfall. Exploring new parks is a great family activity.

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  49. Canoeing and hiking would be amazing. My boys and I have never been canoeing. My hubby would love that too!

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  50. I love getting out in nature either by myself or with my kids. We love exploring new parks and Ontario has so much to offer

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  51. I would love to visit Talon Chutes waterfall.

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  52. The Lakeshore trail is a great hiking spot.

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  53. The Talon Chutes Waterfall looks like a great one to see. I love chasing waterfalls

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  54. Wild blueberries are so yummy! I love looking for fruit when out hiking.

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  55. Bon Echo Provincial Park looks like an amazing place to visit

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Thank you for commenting :)