22 July 2010

Provincial camping: a CHEAP vacation?

Okay, so here I am, still visiting at my sister's place in Southwestern Ontario.

She says, 'Let's go camping for a few days along Lake Huron'. 'Great', I say. I view this as chance to enjoy some of Ontario's beautiful natural conserves without having to fork over pots of money for overnight accommodation. We will use tents! We will bring our own food and cook it over an open fire!

However, to camp in the Provincial Campgrounds in Ontario one must reserve a campsite via telephone, on-line, for $8, or go in person to the desired campground ahead of time and pay $9. The cost of the cheapest site weighs in at $28.00 per night. This is basic camping, folks: a place to put your tent up, a firepit, drinking water from a nearby tap and an outdoor biffy (called a 'vault') within walking distance of your set-up. If you want a campfire, you must buy pre-approved wood, off-site, at $7-8 a bag, plus tax. No sinks or showers for this price and not all campgrounds offer the low rate.

If you cancel or change your reservation, 10 -15 percent is held back, while the reservation fee is non-refundable.

Then there is the HST.

Hmmmmm, and what if you are one of the many 'working poor' who want to take your family for a vacation, where the 'basic' rate for a campsite might only pay a small portion of the vehicle operation/running costs to get you there?

By now I am beginning to get the picture that camping is not the cheap vacation I was anticipating. I wonder how I would make the reservation if I did not have a telephone, were not on-line or could not afford to drive to the campground ahead of time to request a site?

Sigh, if only I were a homeless person in BC, I would be allowed to camp in the local parks overnight~for free.

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