Good news, Ontario : Winter doesn’t mean an end to camping season! Many of Ontario’s Parks are equipped to welcome you all year long. No need to worry about the cooking situation either, they’ve got you covered (literally)! Most of Ontario Park’s roofed accommodations are also complete with a covered area for cooking, so get ready to fire up the BBQ. When it comes to winter camping and cooking in an Ontario Park, here are some of your options!
There are few who risk exploring the backcountry in the middle of winter, but those who do wouldn’t have it any other way. Imagine this : Just you, your friends, a couple of canvas tents, and the quiet snow-covered forest.
Where you’ll be cooking : Over the fire you just built, or on the stove you brought along (either wood-burning or gas).
What IS a yurt, anyway? A yurt is a camping structure, often with at least six sides, and walls made of canvas or a thick waterproof synthetic. It’s what Ontario Parks calls a ‘soft-sided structure), and there is often also a covered eating area, and a BBQ. Sometimes yurts are equipped with heaters, but it’s important to bring lots of layers, if camping in the winter.
Where you’ll be cooking : Each site is different, so call ahead to see what’s available to you. You may find yourself cooking on a BBQ under a wooden awning, on a wood stove, or over an open flame in the campsite fire pit. Some have a metal lockbox will be provided to keep your food safe from animals.
There are a few different types of cabins in Ontario’s Parks. There are the kind you can drive right up to, and the kind found in the heart of the backcountry. Some are equipped with heating, electricity, and accessibility ramps, and some require that you hike or canoe (or both!) to access them. Either way, cabins provide a great home base from which to hike, and cook.
Where you’ll be cooking : Again, each site is different, so be sure to call ahead. You may find you have a BBQ under a wooden awning, or even a small kitchenette!
The Ontario Park’s cottages are a collection of unique spaces, a handful of which are available all read round. These are larger accommodations with a wide range of facilities (some are even wheelchair accessible!). Please check each individual park listing for full details and seasonal availability.
Where you’ll be cooking : In the kitchen!
If you’re looking to go camping with all of your closest friends (or hosting a retreat, perhaps) the lodge is the way to go. Available for booking right through the winter months, these buildings are complete with heating, electricity, separate rooms, washrooms and showers.
Where you’ll be cooking : The lodge at Killbear is equipped with a covered BBQ area, while the lodge at Sleeping Giant has a a fully equipped modern kitchen, complete with dishes and a coffee maker. Don’t worry, there’s still a fire pit outside for those s’mores.
A note about winter BBQ cooking : There will come a time (or rather, temperature) where using a BBQ just won’t be an option any more. Be sure to have another form of fuel at the ready (firewood), should there be a chance the temperature will drop.
About Ontario Parks
Ontario Parks is the branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources that administers the provincial parks in Ontario. Ontario Parks cover over 78,000 square kilometres of the province. That�s about 10 percent of the province�s surface area or the area equal to all of Nova Scotia!
Ontario Parks� mandate is to protect significant natural and cultural resources in a system of parks and protected areas that is sustainable and provides opportunities for inspiration, enjoyment and education: now and for future generations.