Give your kids a sensory treat on March Break. Visit Ontario Parks.
Temperatures are milder and Ontario’s natural places are the perfect antidote to a child’s high-tech world. Getting outside and exploring the natural world is a chance for kids to balance virtual with real. According to research, that’s a good thing for a child’s overall health, development, creativity and joy. Join one of the special events planned at Ontario Parks or create your own exciting park adventure. Below are five March Break ideas to get you started.
Go ‘Sugaring Off’
‘Sugaring off’ is a tradition at Bronte Creek Provincial Park. The park’s annual Maple Syrup Festival begins the first weekend in March and runs every weekend in the month plus the week of March Break. Staff dressed in 19th century costumes show kids how maple syrup is made the traditional way. For kids the best part is when they pour the freshly made syrup on snow to make make maple taffy. Families can also enjoy a Pancake House meal, join a wagon ride, or visit the farm animals at Bronte Creek’s Spruce Lane Farm.
Experience the Thrill of Migration
Every spring, tens of thousands of ducks, geese and swan arrive at Presqu’ile Bay on Lake Ontario. They rest and feed before continuing further north and west to their nesting grounds. For 40 years the staff and Friends of Presqu’ile Provincial Park have invited visitors to their annual Weekend Waterfowl Weekend to witness the spring phenomenon. This year the event is March 19 to 20. Volunteers and their telescopes will be at park viewing points to help families identify up to 25 species of waterfowl. At the Presqu’ile Lighthouse Interpretive Centre there will be craft-making and nature programming for kids as well as duck and taxidermy exhibits. A BBQ lunch fundraiser hosted by the Friends will be served both days. Visit the Parks Blog for more on Presqu’ile’s Weekend Waterfowl and other Marchevents,
Hear the Tundra Swan ‘Whistle’
At the first sign of a spring thaw, Tundra Swans leave their winter home in Chesapeake Bay and head to their summer nesting grounds in the Canadian Arctic. Close to 60,000 of them stop every year to rest and feed near Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron. “If you’re lucky enough to be here during a Tundra Swan migration, you’ll never forget it”, says The Pinery Natural Heritage Education leader, Alistair MacKenzie. When thousands of swans take flight, their powerful wings beat in unison to create a distinct whistle-like sound. The Tundra Swan migration generally occurs mid-month, so this year’s March Break at The Pinery (March 12 to 20) may be perfectly timed. Join park staff at the Visitor Centre for daily programming inside and out and get the latest swan reports on Twitter, @PineryProvPark.
Take the Cross-Quetico Tour Challenge
The Cross-Quetico Tour is one of the coolest winter events in Canada and a perfect match for families of cross-country skiers. Run by the Beaten Path Nordic Ski Club in collaboration with Ontario Parks, this unique tour takes skiers across the frozen canoe routes of Quetico Provincial Park, west of Thunder Bay. Further details of this year’s March 19 event are found on the Beaten Nordic Path website.
Make this March Break Campfire Treat
Ontario Parks staff member, Sheila Wiebe, uses her late grandmother’s tea biscuit recipe to make Dough Boys, a delicious treat that has become a Wiebe campfire tradition. You'll find the Dough Boys recipe on the Parks Blog.