It’s July 15 and the kids have been out of school for a fortnight now. So how are you holding up? Trying to get the kids enthused about outdoor activities may be a little trying these days, but luckily there are lots of options out there for you to spend quality time with the brood, across the province, across the country and across the street. Saturday, July 16 is Canada Parks Day, so what better time to get thinking about getting in a little fresh air and fun in the great outdoors?
Our country is blessed with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to lakes, mountains, rivers and oceans, and our provincial and national parks reflect this. Our National Park system –they even have a Facebook Page – has been protecting and managing wildlife and habitat since our first national park, Banff, was opened in 1885, and now boasts parks in all parts of the country. And to help Canadians celebrate our country’s 150th anniversary next year, Parks Canada is making admission to all National Parks free next year!
“Catherine McKenna, the minister of the environment and climate change, who’s responsible for overseeing Canada’s parks, had the plan laid out in her ministerial mandate letter. “Make admission for all visitors to National Parks free in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” reads the letter. “Beginning in 2018, ensure that admission for children under 18 is free, and provide any adult who has become a Canadian citizen in the previous 12 months one year’s free admission.”- CBC
We have forty seven national parks and upwards of one hundred and ten parks in Ontario alone for hiking, swimming, camping, paddling and just plain getting away from it all. This site will help you plan your week-or weekend-escape, and let you know what amenities and facilities are available at each Ontario park.
Closer to home, Toronto, situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, and criss-crossed with ravines and urban wilderness, has more than 1,500 parks and 600 km of trails. The Toronto Islands are just a ferry ride away, easily accessed by TTC or bicycle and make for a great day trip of swimming on sandy beaches, picnicking and barbecuing. The five islands that make up the Toronto Islands are all connected by trails and bike paths, with no cars to worry about, really. You can rent bikes, visit the amusement parks, and eat at a variety of restaurants. The ferry ride itself is worth the trip, and the view of our city from the Islands is second to none.
Our city’s parks may include beaches, swimming pools, hiking and biking trails, fields for baseball and soccer, basketball and tennis courts and playgrounds. No doubt there is one in your neighbourhood just waiting to be discovered by someone in your family. So whether it’s a trip across the street, or across the country, do try to get out there this summer. Somewhere there’s a Laurentian chair with your name on it…