Canada is a great place to raise a family. The amount of natural surroundings are something we have to be grateful for and enjoy; forests, lakes, wildlife, animal sanctuaries and undeveloped land.
I love nature. I grew up in a small city in Spain with an amazing beach, which now feels like I never appreciated enough, until I left. I learned my lesson and now I take every chance I get to enjoy the great outdoors with my children.
One of Canada’s most wonderful resources are its natural parks. The parks offer a wide variety of activities: from going for a stroll at twilight, to a swim at the beach, to canoeing, or camping. There are many different Conservation Areas within Ontario. Here in Guelph we live very close to Guelph Lake and Rockwood Conservation Area, both of them have great beaches with canoeing rentals.
Undoubtedly, the best decision we made last year was purchasing a pass for the Grand River parks. We paid $125 and it included twelve parks around the Grand River area and several coupons. The permit paid off in only six visits, probably less considering all the “freebies” we received: ten tickets to Brant Conservation Area swimming pool, two extra day passes that I shared with my friend, free rentals, etc. This permit also gives you the freedom to go in for an hour or two at any moment you want, which would be expensive otherwise. We used our park pass to go for a quick outing some afternoons after work, a couple of hours to the beach every so often, or just to walk a 20 minute trail.
Our children enjoyed exploring ruins, caves and walking through wooden bridges over frozen rivers. We made several scavenger hunts with sticks, stones, leaves and even a dried up bug skin as the treasure.
If you are a strong believer – as I am – that the children’s experience in nature has a significant effect on the child’s quality of life and future behaviour towards their natural environment, then this could be a great thing to get for the year.
Note: remember that most of parks open at the end of April.