Summer Fun in Presqu’ile Provincial Park
With its variety of habitats and campground facilities, Presqu’ile Provincial Park offers a wide range of recreational activities from wildlife and bird watching to catching rays on the beach. It is a haven for migratory birds and Monarch butterflies.
Brighton residents are indeed fortunate to have Presqu’ile Provincial Park on our doorstep. The park is a tombolo – what is that you ask?
A tombolo is an island, attached to the mainland by a sand or gravel bar. The Presqu’ile tombolo is the largest on fresh water in Canada. The other unusual feature of the park is the number of distinct habitats – there are conifer forests and plantations, deciduous forests, old field meadows, the marsh, the sand beach, the dunes, and pannes (wetlands between dunes). This variety means more diversity in the plants and animals that live here. Let’s explore some of the things you can see and do at Presqu’ile this summer season.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Presqu’ile Provincial Park is home to one of the province’s longest sand beaches. It offers 2.5 km of clear, shallow water. There is an accessible beach walkway off the Beach One parking area. This walkway is a joint project of the Friends of Presqu’ile, Ontario Parks, the Municipality of Brighton, and the Parrott Foundation. For those who need it, there is an all-terrain wheelchair available at the Main Gate.
On the southern shore of the park, you will find two large Day Use and Picnic Areas with a rocky shore and water access for swimming. This is a great spot to settle for the day to read, relax, swim, or hike one of the many trails. There is also a large picnic shelter available for use unless it is reserved for a special event.
Take a Hike
Presqu’ile Provincial Park has over 16 kilometers of trails. There is a paved loop around the day use roadway. There are also two great boardwalks. The Marsh Boardwalk is just over one kilometer long and includes two observation towers that offer panoramic views of one of the largest marshes on Lake Ontario. New Interpretive Panels, complete with QR codes, introduce visitors to the world of the marsh. The Jobes’ Woods Trail takes you through an old forest area.
There are two longer trails (Pioneer Trail and Newcastle Trail) that wander through forests, plantations, and old fields in the Presqu’ile peninsula. There are plenty of opportunities to see and hear bird life and explore the varied plant life.
There are trail guides on the Friends of Presqu’ile website: www.friendsofpresquile.on.ca. You can also find trail information in the Park Tabloid available at the Main Gate.
The park is considered one of Ontario’s best bird viewing locations. Bring your binoculars, as there are more than 200 bird species sighted each year, with 120 species known to build their nests in the park. In addition, hundreds of species of waterfowl, warblers, and shorebirds migrate through Presqu’ile each spring and fall.
Birds can be found everywhere in the park, but Owen Point is a good place to see shorebirds — over 40 species have been spotted there. Calf Pasture is an excellent spot to find ducks and other water birds, as well as many varieties of songbirds. Visit the Friends of Presqu’ile website to download checklists to keep track of your sightings. You can also see pictures of birds that have been reported around the park. There is also a bird sightings board right by the Camp Office.
What Else Can We do at Presqu’ile?
You can visit the Nature Centre daily during July and August to see displays about the wildlife that live in the park.
Participate in one of the daily Interpretive Programs with children’s activities, guided walks, and evening presentations.
Before your visit, go to the Friends of Presqu’ile website (www.friendsofpresqu’ile.on.ca.) to download activity sheets for scavenger hunts, wildlife checklists, or a game of nature bingo.
Visit the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre to learn about the history of Presqu’ile and the park. Check out the view from the lighthouse point, you may even find some fossils amongst the rocks.
Presqu’ile is a well-known sanctuary for butterflies. See how many you can find, including the beautiful Monarch Butterfly.
Presqu’ile really does offer something for everyone. Come see for yourself and enjoy the many benefits of time spent in nature. You can book your daily pass up to five days in advance. Go to: www.ontarioparks.com/reservations.
The Friends of Presqu’ile Park have shared the goals of the park for 35 years. This volunteer-run charity is dedicated to assisting the park with educational, environmental, and infrastructure programs and projects. Over the years, the Friends’ contributions of funds and labour have totalled over five million dollars.
To learn more about Presqu’ile Provincial Park and the Friends of Presqu’ile, visit: www.friendsofpresquile.on.ca.
The Friends of Presqu’ile Park have shared the goals of the park for over 30 years. This volunteer-run charity is dedicated to assisting the park with educational, environmental and infrastructure programs and projects. Over the years, the Friends’ contributions of funds and labour have totaled over five million dollars. To learn more about Presqu’ile Park and the Friends of Presqu’ile, visit: www.friendsofpresquile.on.ca.