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Free admission to Ontario Provincial Park on July 19

Free admission to Ontario Provincial Park on July 19

Ontario offers free admission to provincial parks for one day on Fridays.

The initiative, announced in conjunction with Healthy Parks Healthy People Day, will provide visitors with day permits for the provincial park network without admission. Typically, the cost ranges from $9 to $21 per vehicle.

“I invite all Ontarians to take advantage of this free pass to Ontario Parks, a chance to immerse yourself in the joy and wonder of exploring the great outdoors,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, in a press release issued Monday. “Whether you’re looking for a little exercise or a fun and affordable day with your family, I hope this free day gives more people the chance to explore all that their local provincial park has to offer.”

The option to reserve day permits in advance at provincial parks in Ontario was rolled out during the pandemic as a way to increase access to outdoor spaces. It was also intended to prevent people from driving to a park only to find it was full, the province said.

Residents can book day trips online up to five days in advance using the same booking system for campgrounds. As of 2024, the program will include 76 of Ontario’s most popular provincial parks.

Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park in Durham Region, which opened to the public on Canada Day, is the newest day park established under the Provincial Parks Act. The park is still in the early stages of development, the province said in June, and currently there are “no facilities or services offered on site” and parking is limited. However, visitors have been given access to an existing network of trails on the more than 1,300 hectares of land.

In its press release, the Ministry of Environment said it plans to build 300 new campsites in provincial parks. It also pledged to provide electricity service to more than 800 existing sites.