Ontario Making it Affordable and Easier to Visit Ontario Parks

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Free day-use permits Monday to Thursday and new tool to obtain permits in advance

The Ontario government is making it easier and more affordable to get safely outdoors and enjoy nature by providing free day-use permits at 115 provincial parks from Monday to Thursday until September 2, 2021. Starting June 7, visitors will also be able to guarantee access to 17 select provincial parks to avoid long line-ups during popular and busy visitation times by obtaining a daily vehicle permit in advance. Doing so will help avoid crowding, helping to make it safer for the public to enjoy Ontario Parks.

“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, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “That’s why our government is making it easier for people to safely enjoy nature by providing free day-use permits and making it possible to book day trips in advance, which guarantees access to the popular parks close to home.”

Visitors will be able to obtain a daily vehicle permit in advance for select provincial parks up to five days prior to arrival. This will allow people to plan ahead and have guaranteed access, which means more time enjoying the parks, preventing overcrowding and less time in long lines. As of June 7, visitors can check daily vehicle permit availability for specific parks and dates on the reservations website.

To further enhance recreational opportunities for Ontarians, the ministry is also implementing a number of other initiatives, including:

  • upgrading more electrical campsites while also expanding and improving roofed accommodations, such as cabins and yurts over the next four years;
  • inviting the private sector to submit their most innovative ideas for new recreation experiences they can deliver at parks, with the best ideas receiving support through seed money; and
  • creating a one-stop shop for all local, regional, provincial and national park recreation opportunities in Ontario.
Ontario Parks are currently open to the public for local day-use activities only, such as walking and hiking. As part of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, overnight stays in Ontario Parks including campsites and in cabins, yurts and cottages will be permitted when the province reaches Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen.

Quick Facts

  • The new advance daily vehicle permits pilot will be available at 17 parks this summer. Daily vehicle permits at all other parks must be obtained on arrival at the park. Advanced daily vehicle permits will be available at the following parks:
    • 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.
  • A valid permit is required for all vehicles within provincial parks, including on free day-use days. Permits must be visibly displayed on all vehicles and capacity will be limited to avoid overcrowding.
  • Ontario Parks is counting on all park visitors to be responsible when enjoying our parks, following all public health advice, including physical distancing and wearing a mask whenever physical distancing is not possible.
    In 2020, Ontario Parks hosted over 11 million visits, up five per cent from 2019.

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