Our Trav­els: Mac­gre­gor Point Pro­vin­cial Park

Spend­ing leisure time at this all-sea­son park along the shores of Lake Huron is a must for this na­ture-lov­ing cou­ple.

More of Our Canada - - Contents - By Ge­orge Mcder­mott , Strat­ford, Ont.

For the past 15 years, my wife Au­drey and I have gone camp­ing in Mac­Gre­gor Point Pro­vin­cial Park, a two-hour drive from our home in Strat­ford, Ont. Mac­gre­gor Point is lo­cated on the Saugeen Shores of Lake Huron, about three kilo­me­tres south of Port El­gin, Ont. We have an old hard­top trailer that my fa­ther bought in 1962, when we were kids. This park is our lit­tle get­away from the stress of work and city liv­ing.

Mac­gre­gor Point is a na­ture haven, a home to many small an­i­mals in­clud­ing frogs, tur­tles, rac­coons, red-tailed squir­rels, garter snakes and more. Deer are also plen­ti­ful in the spring and sum­mer. The park of­fers seven kilo­me­tres of shore­line along Lake Huron. It is no more than a ten­minute walk from most of the camp­sites.

An en­joy­able fea­ture for any vis­i­tor is an evening camp­fire. The only sounds we hear

dur­ing a camp­fire are the breeze rustling through the trees and bull­frogs. It’s such a re­lax­ing re­treat from city life. The park also fea­tures many hik­ing and bike trails that are easy or mod­er­ate to nav­i­gate. For older peo­ple like Au­drey and me, there are no long or stren­u­ous hikes, and we can eas­ily walk to the lake to take in a gor­geous Lake Huron sun­set.

The park is open all year long and fea­tures var­i­ous spe­cial events. In May, the park hosts a week-long bird­ing fes­ti­val, as it’s home to many birds in­clud­ing blue jays, chick­adees, red-winged black­birds and wood­peck­ers. Larger birds in­clude os­prey, egrets and blue heron. On oc­ca­sion, we have seen swans along the lake shore.

In sum­mer, beautiful wildflowers are abun­dant: lady slip­pers, blue flag iris and the unique pitcher plant, which only grows in a marl­stone en­vi­ron­ment. In ad­di­tion to birds and small wildlife, Mac­gre­gor Point is home to a mul­ti­tude of at­trac­tive in­sects in­clud­ing dragon­flies and dam­sel­flies, la­dy­bugs, water striders and bum­ble­bees.

For dog own­ers, this park fea­tures two dog ex­er­cise ar­eas right along the shore­line, where dogs can swim or roam around off leash.

In Oc­to­ber on the week­end fol­low­ing Thanks­giv­ing Mon­day, Mac­gre­gor Point puts on a Hal­loween-themed week­end called “Witches in the Woods” that is great fun for chil­dren and adults alike. The staff pre­pares and dis­plays a scary haunted trail in the camp­ground that peo­ple can see at night. As well, kids can trick-or-treat for candy, as peo­ple dec­o­rate their camp- sites. They even have a con­test for the best dec­o­rated Hal­loween­themed camp­site.

The best fea­ture of this park is its nat­u­ral sim­plic­ity and beauty. When­ever we camp here, no mat­ter the sea­son, I usu­ally walk to the lake early in the morn­ing and again in late af­ter­noon or early evening, as the Lake Huron sky is al­most al­ways worth a view and some pho­to­graphs. The sky never looks the same twice, an­other one of the great fea­tures that keeps us com­ing back sea­son af­ter sea­son, year af­ter year. ■

Left: A glo­ri­ous Lake Huron sun­set; above: deer are of­ten spot­ted in the park.

Clock­wise from top left: A ma­jes­tic blue heron; an im­pos­ing-look­ing snap­ping tur­tle; en­joy­ing a fall hike in the dog-friendly park; Ge­orge and Au­drey’s cozy Trot­wood trailer; the unique pitcher plant.

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