Ontario’s iconic species & spaces

Since 1961, Ontario Nature has been protecting significant natural areas within its nature reserve system. Click through for some of the province’s most beautiful and vulnerable habitats – and get a glimpse at some of their inhabitants!

Malcolm Bluff Shores

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1. Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve: a restored wetland fosters biodiversity.

Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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2. Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve: painted turtle is the only turtle not listed as at risk in Ontario.

painted turtle

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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3. Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary: this beaver meadow is located at the reserve’s entrance.

beaver meadow

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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4. Altberg Wetland: gray tree frogs are one of the many amphibians that live here.

gray tree frogs

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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5. Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary: peer under logs in search of elusive spotted salamanders.

spotted salamanders

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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6. Malcolm Bluff Shores: an undeveloped, 4-km stretch of shoreline with breathtaking views of Georgian Bay.

Malcolm Bluff Shores

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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7. Malcolm Bluff Shores: a birder’s delight – many species inhabit this reserve including the great-crested flycatcher.

great-crested flycatcher

Photo credit: Robert McCaw

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8. Bruce Alvar Nature Reserve: this rock garden is home to provincially rare flower species.

Bruce Alvar Nature Reserve

Photo credit: Mark Carabetta

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9. Petrel Point: known as the “garden of wildflowers”, this reserve is a treat for flower lovers. Photographed here is the rare calopogon orchid.

calopogon orchid

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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10. Petrel Point: marsh marigolds are a welcome splash of colour in early spring.

Petrel Point

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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11. Stone Road Alvar: native coneflowers paint this reserve yellow in the late summer and early fall.

Stone Road Alvar

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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12. Lawson Nature Reserve: the landscape here varies from hilly moraine to grassy meadow, to hardwood swamp.

Lawson Nature Reserve

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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13. Lawson Nature Reserve: walk through this 15-hectare property in search of almost 200 plant species.

Lawson Nature Reserve

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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14. Reilly Bird: protecting half of the Meilleurs Bay shoreline, this property offers a stunning view of the Laurentian Hills.

Reilly Bird Laurentian Hills

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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15. Reilly Bird: aster pollen covers a bee in this 27.5-hectare reserve located along the Ottawa River.

bee gorges on aster pollen

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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16. G.G. Newton Nature Reserve: witness farmland restoration while hiking a short, well-marked trail.

G.G. Newton Nature Reserve

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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17. G.G. Newton Nature Reserve: the river valley is mostly covered with native hardwoods that provide habitat for many birds, including the downy woodpecker.

downy woodpecker

Photo credit: Ontario Nature

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18. Kinghurst Nature Reserve: this Grey County reserve contains a mature maple-beech forest with 250 to 300-year-old trees towering 30 meters high.

maple-beech forest

Photo credit: Joe Crowley

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19. Kinghurst Nature Reserve: a male eastern bluebird surveys the forest from his fence-top perch.

male eastern bluebird

Photo credit: Brendan Toews

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20. Kinghurst Nature Reserve: the wetlands in this reserve provide a glimpse into Ontario’s natural heritage.

Kinghurst Nature Reserve wetlands

Photo credit: Ontario Nature