Darlington Provincial Park
|Darlington Provincial Park|
|Nearest city||Courtice, Ontario|
|Area||208 ha (510 acres)|
|Governing body||Ontario Parks|
Darlington Provincial Park is a part of the Ontario Provincial Parks system. It is located just south of Highway 401 near the town of Courtice, between the cities of Bowmanville and Oshawa. A small park, the topography is dominated by gentle hills, a terminal moraine deposited by glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. The park borders on the northern shore of Lake Ontario also encloses McLaughlin Bay. The Bay is shallow, and at some point in the 1990s was completely closed off from the lake by the action of the waves. The property bordering the park to the west is the home of General Motors Corporation's Canadian headquarters. Kintigh Generating Station can be seen from this provincial park even though it is on the other side of the lake.
Darlington Provincial Park is home to several varieties of plants and animals. The flora of the park consists mostly of second-generation regrowth, as the park was reforested in the 1960s after being cleared for farmland. Invasive plant species are a serious problem in the park, especially the aggressive purple loosestrife growing in the marshy areas bordering McLaughlin Bay. Animal species present in the park range from the white-tailed deer to squirrels and other small animals. Other animals such as coyotes and grey wolves have been rumored to be wandering around the park. Fish and amphibian life are also present in the park, especially in and around McLaughlin Bay. The park is known for migrating monarch butterflies. It offers an annual monarch tagging and educational program.:130
Monarch butterfly migration
Near summer's end, monarch butterflies begin to migrate south to Mexico. The park is part of a greater monarch conservation program. It tags monarch butterflies at its annual migration festival, the Monarchs and Raptors Weekend, held in early September. This event attracts young families who are given an opportunity to help with the tagging.
This part of Canada was settled by three loyalist families in 1794; Roger Conant, John Burk and John Trull. They moved onto British soil in response to Lord Simcoe's offer of free land to the loyalists. Samuel Burk, a descendant of John Burk, purchased the land which is now the park in 1918 and resided there until his death in 1933. Located on the park property is a cemetery used by the Burk family.:129
In 1971 a notable biker movie called The Proud Rider, featuring Art Hindle, was filmed in the area. Many of the biker scenes in the film were shot inside the park, and the Darlington pioneer home can often be seen.
- "Darlington - Park Activities". Ontario Parks. Archived from the original on 2 June 2007.
- Hiking in Ontario. Ulysses Travel Guides. Montreal: Hunter Publishing. 2005. ISBN 2-89464-683-6.
- O'Meara, Jennifer (August 19, 2010). "Learning takes flight at Darlington Provincial Park: Monarch butterflies to be tagged and released in popular family program". Clarington This Week/durhamregion.com. Toronto: Metroland. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
- Coleman, J. T. (1875). History of the Early Settlement of Bowmanville and Vicinity. Bowmanville, Ontario: West Durham Steam Printing and Publishing House, a Google ebook. p. 3.