Are you looking for the next adventure? Do you want to experience nature’s beauty and wonder?
You really do not have to look very far, Ontario has a number of beautiful parks all within a reasonable drive for you to sit, relax and enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery and colours almost in your own backyard.
Bon Echo History
Bon Echo, located in southeastern Ontario was once home to the Algonquin and other Indigenous Peoples who played an essential role in the development of the area. Mazinaw Lake and the rock it surrounds still hold great significance to the local Indigenous community with its many pictographs still found on the rock face. A boat tour or canoe ride across the lake can take you to visit the beautiful images found and perfectly preserved there. Rich in culture and history, you really are travelling back in time.
When you visit the Visitor Centre and the Greystone Cafe in the park, you will find a beautiful path that brings you to the beach area with an amazing view of the lake and the rock face. You can enjoy a warm apple cider or a nice cup of coffee as you listen to many different nature sounds surrounding the area. The calming scenery is an incredibly relaxing to start your day in Bon Echo Park.
The Greystone Cafe and the Visitor Centre located beside it are also the only two remaining historic buildings on the property. The property was also at one point in time a privately owned area that housed the Bon Echo Inn, many cottages, a boathouse and other buildings to support the hotel. Sold in the early 1900’s to Flora MacDonald Denison where it became a popular retreat and gathering place for artists, writers and deep thinkers. Bon Echo has also been the subject of many paintings by the Group of Seven and photographs by different artists over time. Her son Merrill Denison inherited the resort in the 1920’s and continued to host popular artists there for work and also relaxation. The Inn closed it’s doors in 1928 and then burned to the ground after being struck by lightening in 1936. Bon Echo is now a Provincial Park and opened in 1965 in an effort to preserve its rich history and to protect the ecosystem naturally found in the park.
Visiting Bon Echo
With many beautiful hiking trails, such as the one pictured at the beginning of this blog, and spacious campsites, Bon Echo is definitely a place to add to your summer/fall camping list. It is well maintained and the hiking trails range from easy to difficult. Some trails are also only accessible by water which will add another element to your quest for adventure and exploration of Ontario’s natural history.
The only real drawback I found is it is a total technology blackout area. You will be hard pressed to find a signal using your cellphone in Bon Echo and the only payphone on the property is out of service. If you travel down to the Rock where the former Inn stood, you will find a small signal there and if you take a short drive out of the park you can find a signal for a brief stretch. Otherwise, you are definitely off the grid which could be a good way to disconnect if that is what your are looking for. I know I was!!!
I found it very humbling when I walked the trails and thought about the many settlers and Indigenous People that walked those grounds so many years ago. Bon Echo is definitely a treasure that Ontario has the privilege to boast about.
For more information on Ontario’s parks, including Bon Echo, visit the Ontario Parks Website!
Looking for a great spot to visit with the family next summer? Check out my newest blog about #BonEchoPark : https://tinyurl.com/mvzv55tp #canadiancamping #provincialparkscanada #bonecho
History, hikes, camping and more at Bon Echo Provincial Park. Check out my trip to the beautiful Canadian Shield here: https://tinyurl.com/mvzv55tp #canadiancamping #provincialparkscanada #bonecho
Thank you for sharing @shericolette! I am from Vancouver, BC. My family and I moved here in 2018. Lakes, rivers, and the ocean surround BC, so getting to know some new places to see out here is lovely. I am still trying to get to know the small area I am in and the vast surrounding area of Ontario. I did some research on Bon Echo; it’s a 3hr and 29 minutes from where I reside here in Waterdown. In the summer, we head up to Dorset, Ontario. Have you ever been there? My mother-in-law has a cottage there, and we genuinely enjoy it. My kids love to kayak, so I bet Bon Echo would be great for that, and fishing too! And to be off the grid, oh, how nice is that? Pure peace. Thank you again for sharing; this is a place I will show my husband; we haven’t gone camping in years, and I think it’s about time we take the kids.
Hey Marianne, I have not been to Dorset but since camping is a new hobby I am enjoying with my daughter I will definitely check it out. The lake in Bon Echo is definitely great for kayaking and it would be awesome to show the kids the pictographs that are still there. Thanks for your feeback 😊