Have your say: Yay or nay — Camping at Lake Ontario Park

The shoreline at Lake Ontario Park. Photo by Robin Dawes.

Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to see tents, tent trailers, motor homes and RVs set up in the grassy area of Lake Ontario Park visible from King Street West.

In fact, the park was used by all sorts of campers — those there to attend events, such as cycling or running competitions or fundraisers, or the dog shows that take place in the Park annually.

When Lake Ontario Park was redeveloped, creating a variety of amenities that many locally have come to love, the camping allowance in Lake Ontario Park was removed, and camping at the park has not been allowed since the early 2010s.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, Kingston City Council discussed the idea of bringing camping back to Lake Ontario Park. A motion tabled by Councillor Jim Neill asked to have City Staff look into the possibility of allowing camping at Lake Ontario Park for those using active transportation (i.e.: not driving there in a vehicle). After some discussion, Council amended the motion, and, in the end, asked City Staff to “report back to Council in Q1 of 2020 on infrastructure required in Lake Ontario Park and the associated costs and potential revenues, to accommodate a 2 year camping pilot project for cyclists as part of cycling events starting in 2020,” and that “Staff be directed to report back with options, including costs and public engagement, for camping within the community by Q4 of 2021.”

So what do you think, Kingston? Have your say below in the poll, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Kingstonist Co-publisher Tori Stafford will be on Council in Action on YourTV at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 discussing this topic, and other happenings around the horseshoe at the Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 meeting of Kingston City Council.

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16 thoughts on “Have your say: Yay or nay — Camping at Lake Ontario Park

  • Only for short term camping. We don’t need to have motorhomes and trailers sitting there all summer as that defeats the purpose of a campground. There are commercial sites for that sort of camping.

  • I don’t think the infrastructure to support camping exists. Showers, washrooms, garbage and recycling depots etc. would have to be installed. Then there is the matter of collecting fees, controlling admissions etc..

    • It worked for generations and made money. All that infrastructure was removed when that time council made the short sighted decision to end camping and amusement activities at the park.

  • I don’t think agree with the counselor’s statement that bicyclist make less of a mess, I leave my campsites as clean of cleaner then i get them.

  • > I think it would be wonderful for campers for a couple of days and no long term camping . The hut they had for registration and such is still there and at the front there is unused ground where the camping could happen . This would allow for young families that live within the city or close by to give their children the experience of camping without a lot of expense and also for cyclists or motor cyclists that need a place to stay overnight enroute to their destinations.This also would bring revenue into the city for upkeep and such for the park .Just my opinion .

  • I like Betty Hannah think this a wonderful idea for short term campers enroute to other destinations. Again no long term. I remember taking my boys and their friends to the old Lake Ontario park for a day of fun and good times. The residents of the city could still use the park for walks and enjoy nature without having to leave the city. I also agree that it would bring revenue into the city even they would have to man a booth or gates to charge for the short term camping area for set hours and the cost of the upkeep is already in place so the new venture could be blended in with the old. I am sure that they have some kind of staff checking the park area. People do park there now at all hours of the day and night as I have seen this on my way by.

  • Camping for all, but with length of seat restrictions. No one should be allowed to camp for weeks and weeks.

  • I say no! The park is a beautiful place now and really wasn’t when the campers were there. A lot of money has been spent to beautify the park and should remain as is.

  • It was great good fortune to work at LOP as a college student in the late seventies under the management of the late great Webb Vivian. The campground was full all summer long. The park was at its peak and business was booming! I would be happy to see our newly landscaped park revitalized to it’s old glory days. Patsy de Haan

  • I think a maximum of 2 days would bring more tourists to the city , but parking here in Kingston is always an issue . Allowances for this would need to be addressed. Also a bring in more music to the park. When I was a teenager the park hosted many local bands on Fridays and Saturdays , your fathet among them Tori .tr

  • Bruce Russell
    Homeless camps are everywhere in Canada. Providing a campsite would allow them to set up camp. The results would be devastating. I feel very bad there is a housing shortage all over Canada, but allowing camping at this site would not be a good idea.

  • I am sure that after riding 50-20 k on a bike, you want to go camping instead of spending the night/weekend in a hotel with a bed and shower. Give your head a shake city council.

  • Short term and NOT free!.. the last thing we need is people living there like squatters and ruining the place for visitors.

  • There are no showers, two (I think) change rooms and barely enough toilets to support the splash pad. It’s not a bad idea but it would require significant infrastructure upgrades.

  • The Duncan family, long time residents of Kingston, managed and kept the park secure for years when I grew up here in town. I actually worked thru the night occasionally, as security for the grounds during camp season. The Duncan’s lived in the “chalet” that was onsite. They had a rental agreement with the city for the apartment on the upper level and the lower level was home to the camp office and washrooms. Both Mr and Mrs. Duncan we’re city employees and diligently paid taxes just like the rest of us.
    The Park was a gathering place for many groups and organizations from across North America and beyond. The amusement park flourished back in the day and the beach was a great place to spend time in the summer and the only place for fireworks anytime. All the infrastructure was I place and maintained by the city. It was a city owned asset that I’m sure had to make money.
    The city debates now simply because of the potential value to our city’s coffers and local developers if the city were to entertain the sale of the extremely valuable piece of waterfront land.
    The land belongs to taxpayers. The majority wants it revitalized and used as it was intended. Council needs to stop seeing future dollar signs and start paying attention to what the constituents want rather than what council thinks we need.
    Revitalize the park. Introduce short term camping for everyone, from everywhere and make it a place to be once again.

  • We used to camp there, while visiting our son who was at RMC. Great stop to put down for a weekend.

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