Opening doors with Ontario Parks

Today’s blog was written by Pilar Manorome, a park planner in Protected Areas Section at Ontario Parks.

As a kid, I was always fascinated by the natural world around me and was very fortunate to grow up in Norfolk County.

It was a place where I could step out my door and have a wide array of trees, wildflowers, birds, insects, and everything in between, right at my fingertips.

I am also very blessed to have a family that encouraged exploration of the natural world through taking me to the local conservation areas and provincial parks to find frogs and wildflowers, and down dirt roads to find birds and butterflies.

Although my mom and grandparents lit the spark, the flame was truly fanned when I started volunteering for my local Conservation Authority.

Working for Ontario Parks has only further fed the fire.

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Happy National Pet Day from Ontario Barks

In today’s post, the Chairdog of the Ontario Barks committee shows off his best buds at their favourite provincial parks with their humans! 

Oh boy! It’s National Pet Day! *zoomies*

Even though this is a special day, I’m going to be fur-real with you – in my household, every day is pet day.

From the endless array of squeaky toys (with yummy stuffing and no eyes), the long W-A-L-Ks filled with my smelly presents, and second dinners because the human thought I didn’t get fed by the other human – it’s a pawesome time.

And get this: the fun doesn’t stop here. Sometimes, the human packs a bag and we head on out to a provincial park (there are hundreds!) for an adventure!

Don’t believe me? I’ve gathered all the evidence below of my best buds enjoying park visits! (Don’t ask about who destroyed the couch though; there is no proof.)

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Where the best summer of my life has led me

Today’s blog comes from Laurel Finney. Laurel is the Discovery program project coordinator within the Ontario Parks Operations & Development section, providing direction and support for Discovery Program staff across the province. Previously Laurel worked at White Lake, Esker Lakes, Six Mile Lake, and Wasaga Beach provincial parks.

When I was 17, I applied to and was accepted into the Ontario Junior Ranger program.

Its tagline was “best summer of my life” – and that still rings true for me.

My parents drove me to Washago and from there, I traveled on my own, by train, to Gogama, where I had the best summer of my life and made some of my truest friends.

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My summer as a Discovery ranger at Grundy Lake

Today’s blog was written by Justin Sallans, Discovery ranger at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

As someone who has always loved nature, working as a Discovery ranger at Grundy Lake Provincial Park was the perfect choice for me.

Not only did I get to live and work in the park, but I also had the opportunity to share knowledge I had gained through my post-secondary studies.

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From Discovery team to butterfly biologist

Today’s blog was written by Michelle Polley, a Master’s student conducting research at Pinery Provincial Park where she formerly worked as a Discovery ranger.

I had never been lucky enough to camp at a provincial park. So when I started my first summer on the Discovery team at Pinery Provincial Park, I didn’t know what a naturalist’s job entailed.

I also didn’t know how that summer contract would affect the trajectory of my life.

Looking back, my experience brought me skills and experiences that led me down a path to develop my career and interests.

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A journey from the heart of Pinery to school outreach coordinator

Today’s blog was written by Almeera Ahmed, School Outreach Coordinator with the Discovery program.

Born and raised in the urban landscape of Brampton, Ontario, my childhood was far from the serene wilderness that would later define my career path.

Growing up, my encounters with wildlife were confined to the captivating narratives of wildlife documentaries.

However, this exposure was enough to ignite a flame of curiosity and passion for the natural world, propelling me towards a career in the environmental field.

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The summer job that lasted seven years

Today’s blog was written by Adrian Petry, Public Historian and Visitor Services Coordinator for St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre. Adrian can occasionally be found volunteering at historical events at Bronte Creek Provincial Park, where he was a former senior Discovery staff member.

When I think back to my younger entering-the-workforce self, I recognize skills and abilities that would eventually get me to working in public history and interpretation in a traditional museum setting.

But how we got from 18-year-old Adrian to *clears throat* today’s Adrian is thanks in part to the careful polishing of those skills and abilities through seven seasons with Ontario Parks.

If you’re reading this and considering a summer (or seven summers) in our wonderful parks system, don’t just think to the next few months.

Think about where you’ll be in the next *clears throat again* years.

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Five friends, five departments, one park

Today’s post comes from Zuzanna, Alysa, Lyle, Jackson, and Emily: five friends who applied to Ontario Parks across the province and by a twist of fate, all got jobs at the same provincial park, 1,500 km (or 16 hours) from home!

Are you interested in joining us for the 2024 summer season? Applications are now open!

In early January of last year, we applied to work at parks across the province. Being friends with connections in southern Ontario, we were yearning for seasonal jobs characterized by adventure and wilderness.

After numerous interviews and phone calls, one by one we received job offers from the same park: Quetico Provincial Park.

Once he reviewed our resumes and interviews, our senior operations technician discovered the friendships and previous connections that we had to one another.

Upon consideration of our unique backgrounds, he placed us in distinct departments to align with our individual strengths.

We became five friends in five departments, all at the same provincial park.

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