10 ways to beat the February blues at Ontario Parks

Looking for some February fun to fight off those pesky winter blues? We’ve got you covered!

1. Celebrate Family Day weekend (February 13-15)

Six parks — Algonquin, Bronte Creek, Wasaga Beach, Killarney, MacGregor Point and The Pinery — plan Family Day festivities. Check times, dates and activities on our Calendar of Events. Most activities are free with a valid park vehicle permit and refreshments will be served at some parks for a small fee.

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Where’s Charlotte’s winter web?

Today’s post comes from Pilar Manorome, a natural heritage education specialist from Rondeau Provincial Park.

spider web
Anybody home?

While you’re cuddled up on the couch with your favourite book and a big cup of hot chocolate, have you ever wondered where our eight-legged friends spend the cold winter months? Well, I’ve got the answers to your winter-time ponderings.

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Winter events at Ontario Parks

Ontario Parks host the BEST winter events!

We’re starting the season with a December Victorian Christmas celebration at Oakville’s Bronte Creek Provincial Park, and wrapping up winter with a late March Candlelight Ski and Tea at northwestern Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park.

And there’s lots going on in between.

We’ve highlighted a sample of what’s planned. For a complete listing, visit our Calendar of Events.

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March Break 2015 at Ontario Parks

Here’s what’s on during March Break and on March weekends at Ontario Parks in 2015.

Check the Ontario Parks Ski Report for the latest snow conditions. http://www.ontarioparks.com/skireport

For more information on March Break events check here: www.ontarioparks.com/events

At The Pinery, the Visitor Centre will be open and Natural Heritage Education programs offered daily during March Break and on March weekends. On March 21 from 10:30 – 12:00, a special workshop for parents and grandparents will give new strategies for exploring the natural world with children. Hands-on kids activities will also be available. More park event information including the return of the Tundra swans is on the Friends of Pinery website www.pinerypark.on.ca/

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Canada jays at Algonquin: winter breeding phenom is underway

Get out your binoculars, cameras, smart phones and pack a baggie full of bread, cheese and raisins. The fascinating world of the winter Canada Jay breeding season is underway at Algonquin Park. And if you’re lucky (as most Canada Jan fans are), these delightfully social birds will feed right off your hand.

“Canada Jays are a fascinating bird,” says retired Algonquin Park naturalist Dan Strickland.  “They are very confiding and quickly learn that people can be a source of food and so they come to people, rather than the other way around. They are often tame and will land on your hands.”

“This visitor to Algonquin Park is delighted to have a wild Canada Jay calmly land on her video camera. Canada Jays in Algonquin are the subject of one of the world’s longest running field studies, part of which involves giving each bird a unique combination of coloured leg bands. These permit it to be individually recognized, even from a distance, as it goes about its business on its large year-round territory in patches of boreal forest.” CREDIT: Gord Belyea

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The cold hard facts about ice fishing rules and regs

Do you dream of skimmers, tip-ups, pop-ups and giant pike or walleye?  Do you measure the days of winter by the increasing thickness of ice on your favourite lakes? Or are you just excited to try out your new ice fishing rod for the first time?

Imagine setting your line in with little to no one else around, in middle of nature!  Ontario Parks are able to offer you amazing and seemingly endless ice fishing opportunities.   No matter where you decided to take your auger, it is important to check you have all your fishing and safety equipment, you have let others know where you are and you dress in layers to keep warm.  Another imperative step is making sure you know your local fishing regulations!  As parks are specially protected areas, so are the fish.

Following these regulations, and understanding why they exist, is an important part of maxing out your time on the ice, while ensuring you are helping maintain a sustainable ice fishing practice.

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