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Price gouging at Ontario Provincial Parks?

Did you know that most Canadian Provinces offer free admission for day use of their Provincial Parks? Yet a Season’s Day Pass to Ontario’s Provincial Parks costs $107.50!

For anyone living near a Provincial Park who likes to use the park regularly for hiking in the woods, a walk or a swim at the local beach, a Season’s Pass makes most sense, but for seniors and young families is prohibitively expensive at $107.50!

In other Canadian provinces:
*PEI, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. have no fees for day use of their Provincial Parks.
*New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have fees for a few of their parks which offer unique facilities such as marinas, lifeguards, golf courses, etc. All other parks in these two Provinces are FREE for day use.
*Newfoundland and Labrador offer a Season’s Day Pass to all their parks for $20.
*Saskatchewan’s Season’s Pass for Day Use is $50 but free for seniors residing there.
*Quebec’s system is most interesting – offering a two-tiered system for day use of provincial parks: A season’s pass to all parks: $49.50 A season’s pass to one park only: $27.50

Most of us don’t plan to visit all of Ontario’s Parks every season, and should be able to buy a pass to one park only – for any park in Ontario – at a much more affordable price than $107.50. We should urge our Ontario government to offer a choice of a season’s pass to one park only at every Provincial Park in Ontario?

If we all contact the following people:
1. Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier. 416-325-1941 email
2. Hon. Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources. 416-314-2301 email
3. Your local MPP.
I believe that together we can make this happen!
Lorna Kelly a resident of Prince Edward County, near the Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion


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  1. Jack says:

    I’m guessing the folks sticking up for the exorbitant fees the Ontario government charges are likely in the employ of that same entity, and therefore have the sense of entitlement, smugness and elitist attitude that goes with being one of the new class of nobles we’ve managed to create in this once-great Province.

  2. Mona says:

    Is it still the case that you can use your camping permit as a Free entrance ticket to another provincial park that same summer?
    I remember a few years back we camped at Killbear for a weekend and a few weeks laters we visited Mara park for a day and got in for free by showing our Killbear camping permit.

  3. Ken says:

    Ray, it doesn’t matter what time you entered the park. $16 is the price for the day pass. It is $16 at 8:00AM, $16 at noon, and $16 at 4:00PM. It would be the same thing if you went to a theatre for a show and were late getting there. You would still be charged the same admission price. And the camp site was rented to your brother, not you. So you were a visitor, and had to be charged for a day pass.

  4. Ray says:

    I was gouged $16 for a “day pass” at Pancake Bay even though I showed up at 4PM to have supper with my brother in law who already paid to rent his camp site.

    Also, the last time I booked a site online they charged more than the price at the gate – almost all private companies offer lower rates for online reservations. Then it turned out that they double booked the site. They gave me the “emergency” site which was right next to the gate with cars going by continuously and when I asked to be refunded for the extra money I had to pay to book online they gave me a 20 page “claim” document to fill out and then I would have to pay even more to mail it to them so that they could more than likely reject my claim.

  5. Paul Cole says:

    There are other spots in the County that are way more peaceful to visit for a quiet afternoon or a cool dip and they are free…

  6. Maggie says:

    It’s all relative, isn’t it? If you consider $107. a paltry sum, Gary, you are not among the many county residents, with young families, who work for minimum wage. The parks should be affordable for everyone and sadly this is not the case.

  7. Gary says:

    Personally, I think that 107 bucks for a seasonal pass to all provincial parks is a paltry sum. For all of the management that needs to take place to preserve these sites for our enjoyment and education, this is inexpensive. I would much rather see the people that use the park pay for it, then burden families and single folks alike that have no interest in the parks further by taxation to this end.

    I think the value speaks for itself if you research it a bit and start learnign of the numerous parks we have and what is offered in each – go visit them. go get more then your moneys worth.

  8. Amanda says:

    These parks may depends on user fees, but why should we have to pay for what we are not using? If we only ever visit one park why should we pay to use all of them? I think they should have an option to buy an individual pass for one park, or the option to buy a pass for all parks.

  9. Boomergirl says:

    Yes, I agree with Jay. Unfortunately, most Ontarians have no idea that Ontario Parks depend largely on user fees to operate.

  10. Jay says:

    But there is a difference compared to Ontario’s Provincial Parks and other provincial parks in Canada. Ontario has a world renowned system. It is funded through user fees mostly (80%) and 20% is funded through tax dollars. In these other provinces parks are funded through 100% tax dollars. Ontario Parks also protects 9% of the land in the province, far more that any other province. We are lucky to have them.

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