A non-profit group is making camping without a car possible with a regular bus service between Toronto and key national and provincial parks in Ontario.
Starting June 29 (2012), the Ontario Parkbus Initiative will be running buses between Toronto and popular campgrounds, canoe access points, and backpacking trailheads in Algonquin, Killarney, and Grundy Lake provincial parks as well as Bruce Peninsula National Park, according to a news release.
Started as a grassroots initiative by two York University graduates and outdoor enthusiasts, the program runs in cooperation with Ontario Parks and Parks Canada.
Parkbus started as a private initiative in 2010 by a group of outdoor enthusiasts, with the goal of making outdoor destinations in Ontario accessible by bus.
After getting in touch with Mountain Equipment Coop, that provided them with an opportunity to conduct market research in their Toronto store, they created a plan and presented it to Ontario Parks.
It started small with a pilot project to connect Toronto and Algonquin Provincial Park on a few select weekends. After meeting with Algonquin’s team and working out the details, they partnered with Hammond Transportation to make the service a reality in the summer 2010.
In 2011 Parkbus expanded its cooperation with Ontario Parks, and received sponsorships and grants, including Tourism Development Fund grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism. This critical support allowed them to expand the Algonquin service and to start developing new routes to Grundy Lake and Killarney Provincial Parks.
In 2012, Ontario Trillium Foundation made a key commitment to Parkbus project with a two year grant, allowing the initiative to expand and grow as it pursues a financially sustainable, long-growth model that will benefit people of Ontario, the province’s tourism industry, and natural areas that it now connects with Toronto.
Financial backing is provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, along with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Buses are operated by Muskoka’s Hammond Transportation, with one-way adult tickets ranging between $35 and $40.
During the 2012 summer camping season, Ontario Parkbus Initiative will be running buses between Toronto and the following popular campgrounds, canoe access points, and backpacking trailheads:
- Algonguin Provincial Park – Bigger than the State of Delaware, Algonquin is Ontario’s most popular park and a world-class destination offering adventurers and comfort seekers alike their ultimate outdoor experience
- Killarney and Grundy Lake Provincial Parks – Backpack the famous La Cloche Silhouette trail in Killarney, marvel at snow-white quartzite ridges from your canoe and your campsite, or enjoy a day away from it all at Grundy Lake
- Bruce Peninsula National Park – UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve with sheer cliffs plunging down to deep blue waters of Georgian Bay, underground caves, orchids, hiking trails, and cozy resort town of Tobermory
Since 1992, T.O. has worked on numerous successful projects, including award-winning Bike Train Initiative and the Welcome Cyclists Network.
Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Ontario Ecotourism Society are the collaborative partners of the Ontario Parkbus Initiative.
Address: 850 Coxwell Avenue, Toronto ON M4C 5R1
Phone: (800) 928-7101
In every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks.