The history of picnicking at Rondeau

Today’s blog was written by Callum Barnes, a Discovery guide at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Established in 1894, Rondeau Provincial Park has been host to many activities and adventures over the years.

One quintessential family activity keeps our visitors coming back for seconds: picnicking.

Picnicking has been a popular activity at the park for generations, all the way back to the early 1900s.

So, how did Rondeau’s picnic boom begin?

The automobile expansion

The boom of picnicking at Rondeau started many years ago with the widespread expansion of the automobile industry in the 1920s.

Having access to vehicles for the first time allowed families to travel from farther distances to the park.

Historical photo of cars on a field.

The Model-T Ford was the first family-friendly car, offering Canadian families the opportunity to explore the province.

Visitors flocked to Rondeau to enjoy an outdoor meal with their loved ones, set along the backdrop of the park’s natural beauty.

Bring on the boom

Once visitors arrived, they gathered in large masses onto picnicking grounds Rondeau hosted near the gates.

With plenty for our visitors to do, the park became a hotspot for activities, meals, and fun!

Historical photo of a family picnic.

During this time, many flocked to see what the park had to offer on both the beach, bayside, and everything in between.

New facilities were created to accommodate the influx of visitors, such as cooking huts and picnic shelters.

A cooking shelter at Rondeau, 1956

New washroom facilities and camper activities were developed to provide an exciting picnic experience for all.

Picnicking then to now

In 1966 Rondeau hit an all-time high of visitors at 820,000 in a single year. Now that is a lot of picnickers!

A picnic shelter, 1957

The park has developed over time to offer many activities for the picnickers who enjoy time on the peninsula.

Today visitors continue to come together at Rondeau for a picnic, and enjoy the park’s beaches, hiking, birding, and more.

While many things have changed in the past 100 years, the experience of picnicking at Rondeau has stayed the same: finding a spot to lay your picnic blanket, whether it be at a picnic table, shelter, or picnic area, and enjoying anything from a small snack to a large meal with your loved ones.

Everyday leisure

A picnic at Rondeau is more than a meal; it’s an opportunity to escape everyday life and connect with the people you love most, all while enjoying the great outdoors.

Family sitting at a picnic table.

The park provides a safe and inclusive experience for picnicking families, couples, and individuals to stay and relax.

Providing picnics grounds for future and current generations allows for more visitors to connect and develop relationships with the natural world.

While they enjoy their meal, they also learn about the value of parks and the importance of ecological integrity.

At Rondeau Provincial Park, we are honoured to bring people together in the outdoors all the way from the 1920s to today.

We hope to offer an amazing place to picnic and enjoy recreational activities for generations to come!

Ready to plan your Rondeau picnic?