A brown cabin-style building in front of a forest

What to expect: living in staff housing

Considering applying to a park that offers staff house accommodations?

Living in a staff house at a provincial park can be an incredible, unique, and memorable experience.

Read on to discover what staff house living is like.

What is staff housing?

Staff housing takes many different shapes and forms, and varies from park to park.

A staff house may be a house, a lodge, a rustic cabin, or a travel/modular trailer.

Staff houses are often shared, fully furnished accommodations. You may have a shared or single room with access to shared living areas, including kitchen, dining areas, bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities.

Staff houses can accommodate anywhere from one to over 50 staff members, depending on the park.

Which parks offer staff housing?

Over 35 provincial parks offer limited staff house accommodations. Visit our staff accommodations page for a list of parks that have staff housing available.

Staff house benefits

Campfires, new friends, endless sunsets, and amazing wildlife sightings are just a few benefits to living in a staff house.

Here’s a closer look at what makes living in a park such a special experience:

Lifelong friendships

While living in a staff house, you’re likely to develop close bonds with your coworkers, and might spark lifelong friendships.

Three young adults sitting on a bench in a forest, smiling widely at the camera with their arms outstretched

Whether you hike out to the lake to listen to the frogs, take a stroll to the beach for an impromptu volleyball match, or spend your days off exploring the area, these shared moments make for a fun summer.

Long-time Ontario Parks staff often remark the friendships that they made during their time living in a staff house.

A person standing at the edge of a forest at night, shining their flashlight up towards a star-filled sky

A sense of community

Staff housing brings together people from diverse backgrounds. Living in a staff house is a great opportunity to share new experiences and learn about different cultures.

Four young people walking into a forest, facing away from the camera

After work and on days off, staff often enjoy campfires, cooking together, exploring their home park and nearby parks, and sharing hobbies and interests.

Many parks organize events such as BBQs and sports events throughout the summer for park staff to take part in.

A park as your backyard

Calling a provincial park home for the summer allows you to create a deep connection with nature and the park.

With the park as your backyard, there’s always a new adventure to embark on. Swimming, hiking, fishing, paddling, and biking are some of the activities to enjoy while living in a park.

Three red canoes paddling away from the camera towards a distant tree-lined shore.

Endless sunrises and sunsets and the chance to witness once-in-a-life-time wildlife sightings are some of the top perks to living right in a park.

A Canada Lynx crouched down on the forest floor
A Canada Lynx photographed by park staff, right outside the Neys staff house.

Opportunity to explore a new region!

Ontario is a big province! The majority of parks that offer staff house accommodations are situated in the northern region of the province.

Living in a staff house allows you to work at a park and experience a new region of Ontario. On your days off, you can be a tourist to explore local attractions and other nearby provincial parks.

A person fishing in a lake at sunset

Parks that offer staff housing are often located near smaller cities or towns and offer limited amenities. Be sure to research the location of the park and the closest cities/towns prior to applying or accepting a position.

Three pictures of the interior of staff housing. The first shows couches on an enclosed porch, the second shows beds in a bedroom, and the last picture is of a common room with couches and chairs with a tv mounted on the wall
The staff housing at Sleeping Giant. Staff housing varies by park

Additional benefits

  • minimal staff house fees
  • often a short commute to work
  • opportunity to gain independence
  • experience living in shared accommodations

What to expect

  • living in a remote, park setting
  • shared or single rooms
  • shared living areas, kitchen, dining areas
  • access to bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities
  • cook your own meals and purchase groceries (unless the park offers a meal plan)
  • bring your own bedding, towels, toiletries, and personal items
  • exposure to biting insects
  • living in bear country
  • potentially limited cell service and wi-fi access
  • cleaning responsibilities
  • staff house agreement and rules

As accommodations vary from park to park, be sure to ask your hiring manager for more detailed information on types of accommodations, living arrangements, and what to bring with you.

A large group of people in camping chairs circled around a campfire in a forest clearing at nightfall.

Create unforgettable memories

Staying in a staff house is sure to be an unforgettable summer adventure. Immerse yourself in nature and surround yourself with people that share a common sense of purpose.

Apply to one of our parks that offer staff house accommodations today!

We are committed to building a workforce that reflects the communities we serve and to promote a diverse, anti-racist, inclusive, accessible, merit-based, respectful, and equitable workplace. We invite all interested individuals to apply and encourage applications from people with disabilities, Indigenous, Black, and racialized individuals, as well as people from a diversity of ethnic and cultural origins, sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions.

Visit the OPS Anti-Racism Policy website and the OPS Diversity and Inclusion Blueprint pages to learn more about the OPS commitment to advance racial equity, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in the public service.