From www.thestar.com, July 07, 2010, By Fabiola Carletti, Staff Reporter
Ontario’s top park just got a lot closer to the city.
Currently, car-less Torontonians must either rent a vehicle or take an indirect route by public transit to get to Canada’s oldest provincial park. But starting next Thursday, a new express service called Parkbus ( http://www.parkbus.ca/) will roll out as a new option.
Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to board a non-stop bus from four Toronto locations to four popular drop-off points in the sprawling park. At $84 per round-trip the ride is less expensive than taking existing bus routes to Huntsville followed by a private shuttle. And if you factor in the cost of gas, parking and renting a car, it’s a lot cheaper than taking a personal vehicle. Even drivers may want to hang up their keys for an environmentally friendly and even educational alternative.
“Parkbus is a non-profit initiative that aims to eventually make other popular Ontario parks accessible by bus,” said Alex Berlyand, co-founder of the project. “We also intend to have a volunteer on each bus talking about the fragile and valuable elements of Algonquin Park.”
The founders find it ironic that in wanting to enjoy nature, most people are contributing to carbon emissions that damage the environment. The 56-seat coach buses are set to outdo even the most ambitious carpool and foster friendships between first-time and veteran visitors.
On a pilot schedule, the 56-seat coach buses will run between Toronto and Algonquin on select Thursdays and Sundays for the rest of July. Organizers are running an online survey to determine the most popular dates for August and September trips.
Berlyand, 25, and co-founder Boris Issaev, 24, say they’re not receiving outside funding and are hoping Torontonians support the project in its infancy.
30 Carlton St. (Days Inn Hotel, near the College subway station), Dufferin/Bloor (Dufferin Mall, Toys “R” Us), Yorkdale Mall (by the TTC entrance), Hwy 400/Major MacKenzie (southwest corner, car pool parking lot).
ALGONQUIN PARK LOCATIONS: Oxtongue Lake/Algonquin Outfitters, Canoe Lake/Portage Store, Lake of Two Rivers Campground, Lake Opeongo/Algonquin Outfitters.