A recent weekend was spent at Earl Rowe Provincial Park – which also just happens to have a pretty decent fry truck nearby, so we took care of a few things we like to do on the weekend at once. Parks, Fry Trucks, and road trips.
We’ve visited Earl Rowe several times in these past two years of increased park visits – and it’s not even a particularly flashy park, and I can’t quite put my finger on what keeps us coming back there. But it’s a vast expanse of a park and it feels like there is room to breathe while we’re there, . I also have fond memories of us wandering through the trails in the middle of fall last year, where the leaves were both crunchy and colourful. Perhaps that’s the origin of all the good feelings surrounding this park, it is especially spectacular in the autumn.
It’s an hour and a half north by northwest of Toronto, and has been around since the late sixties. When there isn’t a pandemic going on, they have a pool. When there is a pandemic going on, there are lots of other things to do like wandering the trails (including one paved accessible one – Fletcher’s Mill Pond Trail), sitting on the beach and playing with the sand, renting canoes/kayaks, as well as being a great place to view salmon spawning in the fall and trout in the spring (they have a fish ladder there.) You can check out the park map pdf here.
One of my new favourite park nerd related hobbies is reading the park management plans of parks before or during our visits. They’re often a rich source of information and history, and offer some insight into both the intentions of the park managers, while also insight into the time the plans were written. I enjoy seeing the attempt of acting as a place for recreation while maintaining a responsibility for the preservation of nature.
We picked up our fries at JJ’s Chip Wagon in Alliston and drove into the park to eat. We have an annual park pass, and it’s been very worthwhile – especially since we tend to visit a park a few times every month. There was this magical little area with a couple of picnic tables covered by cedar trees and evergreens and we parked ourselves there for a few hours of snacking and wandering. Luckily we had a clear view of the beach through a small clearing in the trees so we could also hide out and have cold drinks while our kid happily dug through the sand.
The water itself was unfortunately not safe to go in, but the parks staff had put big signs up right at the entrance and around the park making sure everyone was aware, so that was useful! And we finally got to visit the park store (it’s been closed on previous visits.) in search of park crests, but they were already sold out! We did get a sticker to add to our park passport though. I get the impression the Parks did not anticipate how popular this initiative would be, but we’ve been really enjoying it as a fun memento of the parks we’ve visited.