Vancouver is one of the most picturesque cities in Canada. It is situated by the ocean, surrounded by mountains and is covered in greenery. It also has a mild climate all year-round. If you can tolerate the rain, it’s the perfect place to enjoy city living at the edge of nature.
Bruce Peninsula National Park is situated on part of the Niagara Escarpment along the rocky shores of Georgian Bay. It is known for its crystal clear water, rocky beaches and dramatic cliffs. The park offers plenty of outdoor activities, including camping and hiking to enjoy the rugged beauty of the area.
Point Pelee National Park is located on a peninsula that extends into Lake Erie and is the southernmost point of the mainland in Canada. It is the second smallest national park and the first national park to be established for conservation. It is situated in the Carolinian zone and while much of the park’s interior consists of marshes and swamp forest, it also features a beautiful sandy beach.
Algonquin Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in Ontario and is open all year-round. In the winter the Highway 60 corridor, which travels 56 kilometres across the southwestern corner of the park, is regularly plowed. Along this stretch there are plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and even winter camping.
Arrowhead Provincial Park is located in the heart of cottage country near Huntsville. It is an extremely popular destination in the winter and offers a variety of outdoor activities and attractions including an ice skating trail, 6km of snowshoe trails and 28km of classic cross-country ski trails. It also holds Fire and Ice nights every Friday and Saturday night where the skating trail is lit with hundreds of tiki torches for an evening skate.
Pinery Provincial Park is located along the sandy shores of Lake Huron. It is open year-round and is reputed to be one of the best places in Ontario to watch the sunset. It also protects the largest remaining tract of Oak Savanna and one of the longest freshwater coastal dune ecosystems in Ontario. In the winter, Pinery offers 38 km of cross-country skiing, two trails for snowshoeing, an outdoor skating rink and a hill for tobogganing.
In some ways it feels like we were right back where we were a year ago with this pandemic. While Ontario wasn’t back in full lockdown, new restrictions were put in place just before Christmas, including reducing capacity limits for indoor gatherings. Similar to last year, we decided to ring in the New Year at the cabin to get a change of scenery and momentarily escape from the world around us.
At the beginning of 2021 we decided to set an ambitious goal for ourselves. Ontario was in a strict province-wide lockdown and travelling abroad was not looking promising. So we created the Ontario Parks Challenge where our goal was to visit as many provincial parks as we could.
Killarney Provincial Park is located along the rugged shores of Georgian Bay. It is open year-round and provides a variety of activities depending on the season. In the winter the park features a few trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Killarney also offers walk-in winter camping, six heated yurts and two heated camp cabins.
Clingmans Dome is the highest mountain in the Smokies and is at the highest point in all of Tennessee. You can drive most of the way up to the summit and from the parking lot there’s a short, but steep path up to an observation tower that provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding area.