On May 5, the Ontario government announced that it’s investing $3.3 million into Algonquin Provincial Park to revitalize infrastructure and build new camping accommodations. Specifically, Ontario Parks will use the funding to build eight new roofed accommodations (four yurts and four cabins) at Mew Lake campground; replace two bridges—one at Rock Lake Campground, the other at Pog Lake Campground—and repave sections of Highway 60.
“In 2022, Ontario Parks recorded more than 12.1 million visits and overnight camping grew by nine per cent over 2021, which shows the increasing demand for our beautiful provincial parks,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks, in a statement. “Building more roofed accommodations and bridges are an important part of ensuring visitors can enjoy a memorable experience at Algonquin Provincial Park year-round.”
Of those visits, 1.1 million were made to Algonquin. Established in 1893, it’s the oldest provincial park in Canada and one of the largest in Ontario—covering 1.9 million acres of land. The decision to build more roofed accommodations came after a 2021 survey conducted by Ontario Parks found that close to one-third of park visitors said they would be more likely to visit in the future if there were more roofed accommodations available to rent.
In response to high camping demand, Ontario Parks built 26 new roofed accommodations in provincial parks last year, bringing the total number of roofed accommodations to 201 across 31 parks. The government agency also limited the maximum length of stay in Algonquin—and four other popular provincial parks—to seven nights, giving more people the opportunity to go camping.
The funding received by Algonquin is part of a $41.7 million investment the provincial government is rolling out over the next two years to upgrade and maintain Ontario Parks infrastructure. This means parks other than Algonquin will benefit. Already the government has pledged $389,000 to Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park near Thunder Bay to improve a boardwalk and viewing platform overlooking Ontario’s second-tallest waterfall.
“Our world-class system of provincial parks is one of Ontario’s greatest strengths, providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike,” Piccini said.