Favorite Destination: Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Ontario. It is the oldest provincial park in Canada, having been established in 1893. Since its creation, additions have been made to the park’s size; currently, it consists of nearly 3,000 square miles of land (7,653 square kilometers)—around one quarter of the size of Belgium. Put simply, this is a large park. Though it is mostly contiguous, there are several small separate provincial parks that protect important rivers in the area.

The park’s size and proximity to Toronto and Ottawa make it one of the most popular parks in the country. With over 2,400 lakes and almost 800 miles of streams and rivers, this is an outdoor adventurer’s dream vacation. The park is considered to be part of the “border” between Northern and Southern Ontario, and it is also a point of transition between the northern coniferous forests and the southern deciduous forests. This results in a relatively uncommon diversity, which is wonderful for naturalists and wildlife enthusiasts.

Though people can visit Algonquin Provincial Park year-round, it is especially magical in the winter. This winter wonderland boasts dogsledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling opportunities. Additionally, visitors are allowed to partake in ice fishing on designated bodies of water, and horseback riding is popular in the early and late winter months.

Getting to this magical park is easier than you might expect. Those flying into Toronto can catch the direct shuttle bus, which is provided by Parkbus, a nonprofit initiative supported by the park. Additionally, for those wanting to stay in the area, the park boasts 1,200 campsites in eight campground areas, as well as several hotels in the area.