Ontario offers free day-use permits at 115 provincial parks
People canoe in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, in this 2001 photo. (Ontario Tourism 2005 / The Canadian Press)
TORONTO -- With overnight camping off limits at provincial parks across Ontario until at least June 14, the province is giving people another opportunity to explore the great outdoors, free of charge.
In a news release, the government announced Friday that it would be providing free day-use permits at 115 provincial parks from Monday to Thursday until September 2.
“Getting outdoors and spending time in nature can have many positive benefits on our physical and mental health this summer, as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Jeff Yurek, the Ontario minister of the environment, conservation and parks.
The permit will allow visitors to bike, hike, swim, and picnic from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., depending on the park.
Additionally, starting on June 7, visitors will be able to book a daily vehicle permit five days in advance at 17 of those parks to avoid long lines and overcrowding.
Those parks include, Algonquin, Arrowhead, Batchawana Bay, Craigleith, Darlington, Forks of the Credit, Kakabeka Falls, Kettle Lakes, Lake Superior, Long Point, Mono Cliffs, North Beach, Pinery, Presqu’ile, Sandbanks, Sibbald Point, and Turkey Point.
Overnight camping in Ontario parks is currently prohibited under the stay-at-home order which is set to expire on June 2. After that date, overnight camping is still off limits under the previously introduced “emergency handbrake” measures, which are set to last until June 14 or earlier, when the province enters step 1 of its reopening plan.