beach at sandbanks

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Sandbanks Provincial Park

Located in Prince Edward County, and on the shore of Lake Ontario stretches a long swath of white sand beach almost 20 kilometres long known as the Sandbanks. Because the area was settled before the provincial park was formed there are places where the beach is interrupted by privately owned properties. The park consists of three expansive sandy beaches.

Sandbanks Provincial Park was established in 1970 and plays host to thousands of visitors every summer. Sandbanks Provincial Park has some of the finest beaches on Lake Ontario within the province of Ontario.

Around 25,000 years ago the Wisconsin Ice Sheet began to recede creating glacial Lake Iroquois. The lake had formed when giant chunks of ice dammed the St. Lawrence River creating Lake Iroquois. The subsequent melting of this ice dam, approximately 13,000 years ago drained Lake Iroquois and lowered the lake apx. 30 metres. Lake Ontario is the remnant of this ancient proglacial lake.

Westerly winds deposited sand from the lake into the bays and inlets beginning a process that would continue for thousands of years forming the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation. A cedar forest, tolerant of sandy soil, began to grow inland from the beach.

When the first European settlers arrived in Prince Edward County the land was quickly turned into farmland. The early settlers saw no harm in letting cattle graze along the shore and trees were cut down and uprooted. The result was an ecological disaster. Without any vegetation the sand began to blow, covering roads, farmland and buildings. For decades farmers and environmentalists have tried to remedy the problem by replanting trees and allowing natural grasses and vegetation to grow along the shoreline.

sandbanks provincial park

Places to Explore

Prince Edward County
Rutherford-Stevens Lookout Conservation Area
Sandbanks Provincial Park

Ontario Towns and Cities

Glenora, Ontario
Picton, Ontario

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