Explore nature this fall
Eastern chipmunk, Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Simon Yam)
Ontario is home to diverse habitats. From the north shore of Lake Superior to Pelee Island in Lake Erie, the province is teeming with wildlife living in the forests, wetlands and grasslands that the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is working to protect.
To better connect people to these natural spaces, NCC launched our Nature Destinations program. We invite you to take a journey through some of the greatest examples of Ontario’s wild spaces, and foster your relationship with nature.
Below are three special NCC projects to visit in Ontario. Find your place to grow this fall.
Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC)
North Bear Alvar
Closest city/town: Orillia
Experience the unique sights, scents and sounds of alvars and wetlands at NCC’s North Bear Alvar, located just 35 kilometres from Orillia. Alvars are globally rare ecosystems characterized by shallow soils on limestone bedrock. From frogs to logs, to turtles and shrikes, the alvar offers a nature walk unlike any other.
Hazel Bird Nature Reserve, ON (Photo by NCC)
Hazel Bird Nature Reserve
Closest city/town: Cobourg
Exploration awaits you at this property, which is part of the Rice Lake Plains. Don your walking shoes and wander your way along the main loop trail that passes through tall grass prairie, sand barren, oak woodland and black oak savannah.
Signage along the trail helps tell the story of the natural and cultural history of the Rice Lake Plains, including the Indigenous history deeply entwined with the tallgrass ecosystems in the area.
Backus Woods, Ontario (Photo by NCC)
Closest city/town: Woodstock
Backus Woods is a spectacular gem in the heart of the Carolinian life zone, one of Canada’s smallest ecoregions. Comprising less than one per cent of the country's land mass, Carolinian Canada is home to 25 per cent of the country's population and provides habitat for nearly 25 per cent of its endangered species.
While here, take in the older-growth Carolinian forest and witness a variety of unique Carolinian species, including prothonotary and cerulean warbler, tuliptree and black gum.
Looking down over Big Trout Bay, Lake Superior, ON (Photo by NCC)
Big Trout Bay
Closest city/town: Thunder Bay
Big Trout Bay Nature Reserve is 1,000 hectares (over 2.500 acres) of breathtaking coastal forest and wetlands, spectacular cliffs and cobble beaches along 21 kilometres of Lake Superior shoreline.
If you’re looking for a challenge, the nine-kilometre James Duncan Nature Trail — from the Little Trout Bay Conservation Area in the north to near Pine Bay in the south — delivers. The route includes a spur trail that winds up Mount Mollie and offers spectacular views of Lake Superior.