A couple sitting in Muskoka chairs holding hands while looking out at the lake

Why donate to Ontario Parks?

Did you know only a small portion of Ontario Parks’ budget comes from provincial taxes? In fact, the vast majority of operational funding comes from day-use and camping fees, rentals, partnerships, and the support of our generous donors.

Our donors give for many reasons. Ontario’s provincial parks are places of treasured memories, family traditions, connections with nature, and cultural landmarks.

That’s why we reached out to some recent donors to find out their reasons for supporting Ontario Parks. Here’s what they told us:

My fondest memories with friends and family were at Ontario Parks

You know that special park like it’s your own backyard. There’s that spot by the river where you learned to fish with Dad, or the beach where Mom took you to build sandcastles.

For many Ontarians, provincial parks carry cherished memories with friends and family.

Couple and child walking in the fall at Sandbanks

“I’m giving because the park always meant something to us,” says Nicki Burrett, who went to Forks of the Credit with her husband Ron when they first met and for years after. When he passed, she spread his ashes in the park.

“It’s part of Ontario and a big part of our lives,” she says.

Nicki has chosen to give back to her favourite park through her estate.

It’s where I had some of my greatest adventures

Your heart was pounding before you even left home this morning – a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and adrenaline. After months of mapping out your route and gathering your gear, you’re finally ready for your trip.

Is this a familiar feeling?

two canoes out on the lake

For some, the thrill of adventure comes from a long backcountry trek, isolated in the wilderness with just some supplies and a canoe. For others, it’s a winter snowshoeing journey, battling the cold.

Or maybe it’s a car camping trip, someone’s first time sleeping outdoors in a tent.

View from the top of the Crack at Killarney
A view from the top of The Crack at Killarney Provincial Park

“In 1979 I had my first multi-day hike in [Killarney]. It left a big impression on me. The canoeing is awesome, but hiking on those ridge tops is absolutely unique,” says Mike Badyk, who donated to The Crack rehabilitation at Killarney.

“I’ve done hikes in Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Colorado, Utah and other places and there is something about those ridges that keeps drawing me and my family back there.”

I just love nature

Some of us just really enjoy spending time in nature and want to support what we love.

It’s easy to understand why – there’s almost no sound more perfect than the quiet pre-dawn lapping of waves upon a beach, or no sight more awe-inspiring than a fiery-orange sunset on the horizon.

Piping Plover on the beach at Prequ'ile
A male Piping Plover, a species at risk in the Great Lakes region

Ontario Parks does important work to protect these scenes as they are – in their natural state. Our parks are home to rare or threatened wildlife, big and small.

Your donation can help protect unique ecosystems, biodiversity and significant elements of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage.

Killarney telescope pointing at a starry sky

“Away from city lights, in the heart of the woodlands, the stars beckon, calling to you with their diamond-like splendor, challenging you to both admire and to understand them,” writes one anonymous donor to Killarney’s Dark Sky Preserve.

His donation provided a telescope for Ontario Parks’ first Dark Sky Preserve so countless others can fall in love with the night sky.

What your donation supports

When you donate, you can decide whether you’d like to give to Ontario Parks generally or to a specific initiative.

Grundy Lake

Some examples of projects you can invest in include:

  • Ontario Parks’ Discovery Program, which educates thousands of people each year in over 75 parks and a growing in-school program
  • the restoration, development, and maintenance of the trails and recreational spaces you’ve enjoyed using for so long
  • protecting and managing our parks’ unique ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural and cultural heritage
  • a specific park that holds a special place in your heart

Or maybe there’s something else you’d like to support?

Reach out to us. We’d love to chat about what you’re passionate about in our parks, and see if we can find the perfect project for you.

To learn more, please visit OntarioParks.com/donate.

How to donate

If you’re interested in contributing, please call us at 705-313-2462 or email us at OPDonations@ontario.ca.

Thank you for your generosity. Your donation will make a difference.