Protected Places: A History of Ontario's Provincial Parks System


426 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55002-180-X
DDC 333.78'09713'09





Reviewed by Anthony G. Gulig

Anthony G. Gulig teaches history at the University of Saskatchewan.


Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Ontario’s provincial park
system, Protected Places will be welcome reading to anyone interested in
the historical development of land-use policy and philosophy. The book
traces both the development of Ontario’s provincial park system and
the increasing competition between the forces of development and those
of conservation. Also addressed are the battles involving commercial vs.
esthetic uses of the lands reserved. While places like Quetico were
originally set aside as forest reserves, policy development and the
growing interest in preservation gradually changed the philosophy by
which the land was managed.

Much of the focus is on the Quetico and Algonquin Provincial Parks.
These two parks are managed specifically for the wilderness experience
they provide. Killan’s insightful examination of the
development-preservation battle shows how fragile these protected places
really are. Since the late 1980s, the management of places like Quetico
Provincial Park has been moving steadily in the direction of intensified
use. The elimination of logging in the 1970s, for example, was only an
interim victory for the preservation forces. The parks system now faces
an even more serious threat. Places like Quetico and Algonquin are being
trampled by those who want these wilderness areas preserved for esthetic
enjoyment. People are now—literally—loving the wilderness to death.
The philosophy of preservation faces its most deadly threat in the very
people who fought for the elimination of consumptive uses.


Killan, Gerald., “Protected Places: A History of Ontario's Provincial Parks System,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,