We the North: Exploring Canada’s National Parks

Akami-Uapishku-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains, Aulavik, Auyuittuq, Banff, Bruce Peninsula, Cape Breton Highlands, Elk Island, Forillon, Fundy, Georgian Bay Islands, Glacier, Grasslands, Gros Morne, Gulf Islands, Gwaii Haanas , Ivvavik, Jasper, Kejimkujik, Kluane, Kootenay, Kouchibouguac, La Mauricie, Mingan Archiepelago, Mount Revelstoke, Nááts’ihch’oh, Nahanni, Pacific Rim, Point Pelee, Prince Albert, Prince Edward Island, Pukaskwa, Qausuittuq, Quttinirpaaq, Riding Mountain, Rouge, Sable Island, Sirmilik, Terra Nova, Thousand Islands, Torngat Mountains, Tuktat Nogait, Ukkusiksalik, Vuntut, Wapusk, Waterton Lakes, Wood Buffalo, and Yoho.

Phew. What a list. That totals 46 National Parks across Canada. (You can find out more about each park here.) For over 100 years, these natural spaces have been federally protected for environmental conservation and public enjoyment. And in honour of Canada 150, you have unrestricted access until the end of the year. Order your free Canada Discovery Park Pass today. This also includes boat and canal travel in National Marine Conservation Areas like Fathom Five, Gwaii Haanas, Lake Superior, and Saguenay. Seasonal lockage and overnight mooring permit fees have been waived on a first come, first serve basis. You can order your permits here.

The Canada Discovery Pass does not include unrestricted access to provincial or municipal parks. Fees upon entry apply. Make sure you know the difference before embarking on a lengthy car ride.

Don’t forget to enter the Discover Canada Contest! The grand prize includes an all-expenses-paid, one-week trip to Western Newfoundland, with a gift certificate from Mountain Equipment Co-op, as well as a 2018 park pass. Secondary prizes include a long weekend in Parks Canada oTENTik accommodation and regular draws for 2018 park passes. This truly Canadian event is beginning to feel more like an Oprah show.

With so many parks to choose from, making a selection might be tricky. Here is a bird’s-eye view of our top three staff picks:

 

Cape Breton Highlands

Imagine walking through lush boreal forest, which eventually turns into steep cliffs that meet the ocean. This family-friendly park is a rare plant lover’s dream based in Nova Scotia. Take a dip at one of five saltwater beaches or two freshwater lakes. Outside of interior bird and mammal life, you can also spot whales!

 

Kootenay

This British Columbian gem boasts sightings of grizzly and black bears, elk, moose, coyotes, cougars, wolverines, and more. All nestled in canyon and waterfall country. Respect wildlife park rules by observing no-stop zones and not feeding the animals. Some motorists have been banned for sharing their French fries.

 

Vuntut

This northern Yukon wilderness is co-managed by First Nations and is home to winding rivers in the Old Crow Flats, herding caribou, and mountains filled with over 500,000 bird species. This park is for the more self-sufficient traveller, with fewer than 50 visitors each year.

 

National Park travel exposes you to the odd bump and scratch. Make sure you have travel insurance coverage if you are travelling outside of your home province. Browse options here, or speak to a representative today.

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