Like many of you, I have a lifetime of Algonquin Provincial Park memories. Mine started when I was a young boy, about 5 years old. Most of my travels through the Park have been during the summer and fall months, but I once crossed through the Park during a Winter ice storm. Not one of my most memorable trips!
"On the road to Algonquin Provincial Park!"
That being said, my memories of our summer and fall trips to Algonquin Provincial Park were always enjoyable and always an adventure! For about 9 years, our family spent our summers at Matabanick Inn. Matabanick is located just north of Carnarvon on Highway #35. During that time, we would take one or two trips to the Park each year. The trip to Algonquin always seemed to take so long, but the stops along the way were exciting.
"Just entering Algonquin Provincial Park."
Birds Don't Talk!
The first stop was at a General Store in Ox Narrows. As we entered the store, we would hear “Birds don’t talk”! This coming from the store owners Myna bird. This always got a great laugh from me and my family. At the store my parents bought us a few “traveling” goodies. From Ox Narrows, we would travel to Dorset.
"Map sign of Algonquin Provincial Park at the west entrance.
Robinson's General Store...
This was our second stop along the way to Algonquin Provincial Park. In Dorset, we would go intoRobinson’s General Store for ice cream. Then it was off to the Highway #60 road that led into Algonquin. As we travelled along the Highway we would see lots of “Trading Posts”! My Dad would always ignore our many pleas to stop and headed straight towards Algonquin’s western gates.
"One of the Park's many lakes."
Honk His Horn...
As we wound our way through the windy Park roads, we would come to the “Lake of Two Rivers”. Just before we reached the Lake, my Dad would always “honk” his car horn. Friends of my parents had a cottage on the lake and the “honk” would tell them we were in the Park. Sometimes we would visit these friends, but the “horn” was just a sign of friendship.
"Inside the Algonquin Art Centre"
Algoquin Art Centre (formerly Park Museum)
Once we were past the Lake of Two Rivers, we would come to the Algonquin Park museum. This was a stop we all looked forward to. The museum was also the sign that we were going to leave the Park and go back home to the Inn.
Now the museum has become a wonderful art centre where many famous artist have displayed their works of art.
"Highway 60, the road through Algonquin Park."
Cut Through Rocks and Around Water...
Highway 60 takes you through the southern part of Algonquin Provincial Park, It travels thorugh cut rocks and around beautiful lakes. It is one of Canada's most scenic areas.
"Lots of scenic places to explore."
Explore and Discover...
Traveling thorough Algonquin Park is always an adventure! There are so many places to explore and discover.
"Lake of Two Rivers Camp Grounds"
Visitors who wish to camp in the Park during the summer have to book their camp ground months in advance. Algonquin Provincial Park is VERY popular as a summer get-a-way!
For those who want to visit Algonquin Provincial Park, but don't want to "rough it", there is alway Killarney Lodge! It's comfortable (and popular) and has a great dining room! Like the camp grounds, you have to book early!
"Looking at the wildlife ~ in this case it was a moose!"
Once through the Park gates, we were all on "deer/bear" watch. Back then Moose were not very common. Now, of course, they dominate the Park. The excitement of “discovering” a deer at the side of the road never grew “old”, no matter how often we found them. Just remember though, they are "WILD LIFE" and can be very dangerous and can be "DEADLY".
"The Algonquin Park Visitor Centre"
Algonquin Park Visitor Centre...
"Opened in 1993 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Algonquin Provincial Park and the entire Ontario provincial park system, the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre has world class exhibits on the Park's natural and human history, a relaxing restaurant and an excellent bookstore. A theatre presentation sums up the Park story and then takes you out to the viewing deck from where you can admire a breathtaking panorama of wild Algonquin landscape." (Exerpt from the Friends of Algonqin Park website ~ www.algonquinpark.on.ca)
"Algonquin Park's west gates"
Trading Post Treasures...
When I was young, traveling with my family, we never did get to the west gates. Inside, we would turn around and go back to the eastern gates.
Once we were out of the Park, we would start to see “Trading Posts”. Dad would pretend that he wasn't going to stop, but would then choose one and we would all march in. Once inside I was allowed to buy a “native” treasure, such as an “Indian Headdress” or a “Tomahawk”. All the way home I would drive everyone crazy with my "Warlike Indian Woops". Fortunately for them the "Woops" didn't last long as I would quickly fall asleep. These trips were long and tiring, especially for a young boy!
These childhood memories always come back to me any time we drive through Algonquin Provincial Park. Over the years the Park has changed quite a bit, a new visitor centre and museum, a logging museum, etc., but still the Algonquin Park remains the same to me!