Snowshoeing, Stargazing, & Special Guests at Killarney

By Emily Baillie January 15, 2018

Have you ever dreamed of sleeping outside in a snow hut, meeting a wild owl face-to-face, or maybe even paddling across Canada? On Family Day Weekend 2018, Killarney Provincial Park may be just the place to check out these activities and more!

Discover the best of the outdoors at the annual Friends of Killarney Park Winter Weekend on February 17 & 18, 2018. With a lineup of guided snowshoe hikes, a quinzhee (snow igloo) making session, kids activities, a guest talk by an acclaimed adventurer, and a gourmet dinner, you’ll make memories to last all year long.

Modern Day Voyageur Guest Talk

Photo: Mike Ranta.

Not many people can say they’ve successfully paddled a seven-month voyage from B.C. to Nova Scotia. But for “Modern Day Voyageur” Mike Ranta, this is his claim to fame. Ranta is a professional canoeist who, along with his trusty dog Spitzii, became the first to cross Canada solo in a canoe in one season.

Ranta has paddled across our great nation not once, but twice, and uses his awe-inspiring voyages to raise awareness for Canadian veterans. Hear mind-bending tales from this incredible canoe-tripping expert who won Canoe & Kayak Magazine’s 2015 Expedition of the Year award. Mike Ranta’s talk will be held in the beautiful Killarney Mountain Lodge Great Room.

Astronomy Program & Owl Prowl

A Barred Owl; Starry Night by Bill Gardner.

Did you know that Killarney is the only provincial park with an observatory? Feed your fascination with the night sky and learn to identify stars, constellations and planets at the park’s outdoor observatory. With an astronomy expert to guide you, peer through the high power telescope and view the wonders of the cosmos (weather permitting). While you’re there, watch and listen for mysterious Barred Owls. Park staff will summon them from the wild with a special owl call.

Free BBQ Lunch

Ever notice how food always tastes better when you’ve been active outdoors? Friends of Killarney Park volunteers are serving up a crowd pleasing lunch that the whole family will savour. Grab a flame-broiled burger, hot dog, chili, and hot chocolate at the George Lake campground. Munch on lunch outdoors on picnic tables or inside a warm-up hut. Feeling chilly but enjoying the sunshine? Warm up by the cozy outdoor fire.

Guided Snowshoe Hike

Photo: Emily Baillie.

Let Friends of Killarney Park naturalists lead you to the best spots in the park in winter. Choose one of two guided snowshoe hikes (two to four kilometres in length) and take a closer look at nature. Explore animal tracks, unique ice formations, geological features, flora and fauna along the way. You’ll get great vistas and Instagram-worthy views.

Don’t have snowshoes? No problem. Friends of Killarney Park has rentals available in the park office. Fancy a ski? Killarney Park’s groomed ski trails will be available for anyone wishing to cross country ski at their leisure. It’s time to get out on the trails!

Winter Painting Demonstration

Photo: Christy A. Smith.

Join acclaimed Sudbury artist Christy A. Smith on the shores of scenic George Lake to witness a live demonstration of professional ‘en plein air’ (outside) painting. Christy will walk you through the various steps of outdoor painting techniques and share stories about the region’s rich artistic heritage. Christy is an impressionist artist who specializes in ‘plein air’ (outside) and ‘alla prima’ (works painted in one session only). She regularly paints landscapes of the Sudbury region, Killarney Provincial Park, Georgian Bay, and Manitoulin Island.

Quinzhee (Snow Igloo) Making

Hone your winter camping survival skills and learn how to build a quinzhee, also known as a snow igloo. Quinzhees are cave-like places to rest and sleep made from a large pile of loose snow which is shaped then hollowed. Watch as an outdoor camping expert constructs a quinzee in the park, and grab and shovel and help build it if you like!

Kids are encouraged to help build the quinzhee with shovels provided, and then test out the quinzhee afterwards. Come to the George Lake campground and learn how some of our ancestors may have survived outdoors in winter.

Tobogganing & Maple Syrup Snow Candy

What’s winter in Northeastern Ontario without some tobogganing and maple syrup treats? Slide down the snowy slopes in the park and enjoy a classic Canadian winter-time treat made from organic Killarney maple syrup. Maple syrup snow candy will be provided but BYOT (bring your own toboggan!).

Friends of Killarney Gourmet Dinner

Join old and new friends for a celebration of local food and drink at the Sportman’s Inn dining room. Located on scenic Killarney channel, the Sportsman’s Inn is a great place to relax and unwind after a day in the park. Join Friends of Killarney Park members, volunteers, park visitors, tourists and locals for an evening of fine fare and tasty drinks. If you’d like to attend the dinner, please RSVP by February 9 to info@friendsofkillarneypark.ca. All are welcome!


For more information on the Friends of Killarney Park Winter Weekend please visit the Friends of Killarney Park website or contact info@friendsofkillarneypark.ca.

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