The visitor centre at Petroglyphs Provincial Park northeast of Peterborough near Woodview has been closed since early June due to the failure of a main electrical transformer and resulting power outage, but the park store and Teaching Rocks remain open to the public with capacity restrictions in place until the park’s closing date of Oct. 11.
“While the visitor centre has not been available to the public since the infrastructure failure, we have been working on fixing the electrical issue, and the park continues to provide discovery/education programs to park visitors,” Ben Lauwers, assistant park superintendent for the Silent Lake cluster of Ontario Parks, told The Examiner in an email.
A generator is being used to temporarily provide power to the park store and it is open with capacity restrictions in place, he said.
The visitor centre, which provides education on Ojibway (Nishnaabe) traditions through the teachings of the medicine wheel, and the park store are located in the same building, often referred to as the Learning Place.
A separate building, about 500 metres away, protects the largest known concentration of Indigenous rock carvings (petroglyphs) in Canada, depicting turtles, snakes, birds, humans and more. This sacred site is known as the Teaching Rocks.
Petroglyphs Provincial Park is an historical-class provincial park with carvings which were created in the pre-Columbian era and represents aspects of First Nations spirituality, including images of shamans, animals, reptiles, and, possibly, the Great Spirit itself.
The location of the site was kept hidden from non-First Nation people until 1954, when it was discovered accidentally by a prospector. The immediate area of the petroglyphs has been designated a national historic site of Canada.
Lauwers said it is expected the visitor centre will remain closed for the rest of the 2021 operating season and reopen at the start of the 2022 operating season on May 13.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner