Balsam Lake aerial view with OP125 logo

Support Balsam Lake Provincial Park

Did you know Balsam Lake’s Waterfront Trail used to be King’s Highway 46?

As part of the Ontario Parks’ 125th anniversary, we’re asking Ontarians to help us fund five legacy projects across the province.

Balsam Lake Provincial Park’s project is…

…the restoration and upgrade of the Waterfront Trail!

A little history

That’s right. Long before Balsam Lake became a provincial park, Highway 46 was an important route through the area. Finished in 1937, the highway connected two main corridors: Highway 7 and Highway 35, and the villages of Coboconk and Woodville.

In the 1960s, when Balsam Lake was proposed as a new provincial park,the highway had to go. A re-route, now known as Highway 48, was required to bypass the newly protected park.

old highway at Balsam Lake, road closed sign

HOWEVER, until as recently as 2012, the old highway opened as a through-way from mid-October to the beginning of May each year, allowing traffic to pass through the park.

Finally, due to a state of disrepair, the old highway was officially closed in 2013.

From highway to trail

old trail

Today, the former Highway 46 is an important recreation corridor that park users and residents use to walk the shores of Balsam Lake. The trail connects the campgrounds to the park’s day use area.

The Waterfront Legacy project is very timely project, because the 125th anniversary of Ontario Parks is also the 50th anniversary of Balsam Lake Provincial Park!


Our OP125 Legacy Project will enhance the historical route of former Highway 46:

  • the deteriorated surface will be upgraded, making it more accessible
  • trees will be planted to help the decrease our carbon footprint
  • road sides will be naturalized
  • interpretive signage will be installed to recognize the heritage of the roadway and the significance of Balsam Lake as an important travel corridor long before this area was settled

But we can’t do it without your help

125 logo on top of hiking imageIf you’d like to help us upgrade the Waterfront Trail and restore it to a more natural state, visit our new donations page.

Making a camping reservation? You’ll have the option to add on a donation to a project of your choice.

You can also check back throughout the year to find out how close we are to funding the project!