Ontario Offering Free Admission to Provincial Parks July 19

Free day-use in celebration of Healthy Parks Healthy People Day

The Ontario government is making it easier to explore provincial parks and experience the benefits of spending time in nature by offering free day-use access on Friday, July 19, to mark Healthy Parks Healthy People Day. This annual celebration is part of a global movement to promote the incredible health benefits of getting outside in nature.

“I invite all Ontarians to take advantage of this free pass to Ontario Parks, an opportunity to immerse yourselves in the joy and wonder of exploring the great outdoors,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Whether you’re looking to get some exercise or seeking a fun and affordable day with your family, I hope this free day will give more people the opportunity to explore everything that their local provincial park has to offer.”

As the largest provider of outdoor recreational opportunities in the province, Ontario Parks offers programs and facilities to enjoy nature year-round – in most parks, you can go hiking, cycling, paddling, swimming and more.

The Ontario government is enhancing those recreational opportunities by building 300 new campsites and bringing electrical services to 800 existing campsites at several parks throughout the province, the largest addition of new and electrified campsites in Ontario Parks’ history. Since 2018, the province has invested $55.4 million to help maintain and build more facilities including roofed accommodations in provincial parks to help meet the demand of the province’s growing population, while ensuring an enjoyable experience for all visitors.

Throughout the summer, Ontario Parks offers numerous ways to engage with nature including:

  • In-park Discovery Programs which allow kids and adults to gain confidence in nature and around wildlife through activities such as guided hikes to explore a new trail and other educational programs.
  • The 30×30 Nature Challenge to encourage people to spend 30 minutes in nature for 30 days during the month of August.
  • Take a Hike Day on August 10, providing guided hikes at provincial parks around the province. Visitors can join in on one of the many events happening across the province.

To guarantee access on Healthy Parks Healthy People Day, visitors are strongly encouraged to obtain a daily vehicle permit up to five days before the celebration, at no charge, for the 75 parks that offer this service.

Quick Facts

  • Studies show spending time in nature can improve our mental, physical and social well-being, including lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety.
  • Every dollar spent at Ontario Parks, from seasonal passes to merchandise, is re-invested into Ontario Parks, helping to create a better park experience for visitors, improve services, programs and amenities and protect over 630 provincial parks and conservation reserves across the province.
  • As part of the 2024 Ontario Budget: Building a Better Ontario, the government committed $19 million over three years to establish Ontario’s first urban provincial park, Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park in the Township of Uxbridge, which opened to the public July 1, 2024. This funding will support costs related to regulation of the initial parcels of land, park management planning and consultation, park operations, and possible future expansion.
  • Planning is underway to open the first new, all-season operating provincial park in 40 years near the Town of Bracebridge. Bigwind Lake Provincial Park will offer facilities and recreational activities including swimming, hiking and cross-country skiing, and add around 250 new campsites to the Ontario Parks system.

Additional Resources

Use the Ontario Parks locator tool to find a provincial park near you

Book a daily vehicle permit in advance on your next visit

Learn more about the benefits of spending time in nature