Julia Garro | Jul 19, 2017

If you haven’t witnessed majestic Mazinaw Rock with your own eyes then you’ve missed out on one of the natural wonders of eastern Ontario.

Just 20 minutes north of Northbrook within the bounds of Bon Echo Provincial Park, the gorgeous granite cliff rises 100-metres straight out of the depths of one of the province’s deepest lakes. It’s truly an awe-inspiring sight, and one immortalized by generations of artists.

The Rock is itself an enduring canvas; at water level there are more than 260 pictographs painted in red ochre by the area’s indigenous people. These paintings, some of them believed to be more than 1,000 years old, are images of a rich cultural tradition. Park visitors can see them up close as part of the fully interpreted Wanderer tour boat ride.

But the appeal of Bon Echo extends well beyond the splendour of the Rock. With numerous trails and activities to enjoy, the park has something to offer adventurers of all ages.

For anglers, Bon Echo boasts excellent fishing opportunities, for which it earned a nod from Outdoor Canada magazine. Those new to fishing are invited to join in on the Learn To Fish program being offered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on the weekend of Aug 5 and 6. No experience necessary and equipment is provided.

For art lovers, there’s the annual Art Exhibition and Sale, taking place this year from Fri, Jul 28 to Sun, Jul 30. With the theme “Canadian nature, wildlife and countryside,” the event will showcase original works from 40 artists and include activities for the whole family. Plus there’s the Colin Edwards Memorial Art Gallery, inside of Greystones store, that showcases local artists all season long.

For those looking for some lakeside lounging, there are three natural sandy beaches from which to enjoy a refreshing swim or just soak up the gentle sounds of the waves on the shore. Canoes and paddleboats are available for rent in the Lagoon.

Nature lovers can be on the lookout for the wide variety of wildlife that inhabits the park, including the peregrine falcons that circle Mazinaw Rock, the Blanding’s turtles and the elusive five-lined skink. The skink, Ontario’s only lizard, is being celebrated all-season long with a kids’ colouring contest (entries available at the Visitor Centre) and special events on Sun, Jul 30 and Sat, Aug 26.

Visitors who choose to stay overnight in the park can choose from a wide range of amenities, including cozy lakeside cabins, spacious yurts, RV and car-camping facilities as well as hike-in and paddle-in camp sites for those who want to explore the backcountry.

The season includes a variety of special events, including those presented by the Park’s Natural Heritage Educators and those presented by the volunteer organization the Friends of Bon Echo Park. For more information check out Ontarioparks.com/park/bonecho and Bonechofriends.ca.

Julia Garro lives just south of Tweed and is a board member of the Friends of Bon Echo Park.

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