Shot on Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada.
“The national parks of Canada are a source of pride for Canadians and an integral part of our identity. They celebrate the beauty and infinite variety of our land.” – Parks Canada

It’s a universal truth that the land of a people is within them; it feeds their history, and their future. It’s impossible to disregard the influence that a land has upon a nation, and this is no truer than when it comes to a land as diverse and majestic as our own. Canada has some of the most sought-after geological wonders in the world; tourists from all over flock not just to the great Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and Alberta, but also to the rivers and lakes of Ontario, the unique copper dirt of Prince Edward Island, and the rugged wilderness of the Newfoundland coast. We are a nation of natural beauty, and this is something that is ingrained into our blood.  It’s what makes our people who they are – and it’s something that we, as a nation, fight to protect, so that we will be able to enjoy them for years to come.

This, in part, is the mission of Parks Canada, the federal agency within the Department of Canadian History, that is responsible for regulating and protecting the 48 National Parks and Park Reserves that stretch across our nation. The objective of this organization is to preserve significant chunks of land within the 39 terrestrial regions of Canada, which the Department has assigned based on their unique ecological and geological features.  This is a history that started over a hundred years ago, as Parks Canada, originally established as the “Dominion Parks Branch” under the Department of the Interior, was created in May 1911 – making it the very first national park service in the world.  Certainly, this commitment to our natural beauty set a precedent for the all other nations to follow, and certainly is a proud moment to be celebrated in our history.

So, as you’re looking for something to do on this unusual Canada Day, consider taking a moment to check out some of the natural beauty in your own region.  From the 14km2 Georgian Bay Islands National Park in Ontario, to the almost 45 000 km2 of Wood Buffalo National Park in Northern Alberta and Northwest Territories, each park offers a variety of natural beauty that is as different from each other as our nation. Whether it be the rugged, iconic mountains of Banff and Jasper, the endless lakes and marshlands of Point Pelee,  Riding Mountain and La Mauricie, the flat grasslands of Saskatchewan, or the older quiet beauty of the Maritimes you will find something to feed your call of the wild in any of them. Take a day trip to hike the trails, or spend a week at any of the wonderful campsites offered by the parks. Better yet – set yourself a goal to try and see them all! Ours is an amazing country, so why not grab your hiking boots, and make sure you see it.  Maybe you’ll even get a little fit while you’re at it!

Your National Park & Park Reserve Check List:

Parks Canada has two designation, National Parks and National Park Reserves. Park Reserves differ from National Parks in terms of the government’s jurisdiction over them; generally, this is linked to aboriginal rights to the land. We have designated Park Reserves with a double asterisk (**) below.

British Columbia
Yoho (1886)
Glacier (1886)
Mount Revelstoke (1914)
Kootenay (1920)
Pacific Rim (1970)**
Gwaii Haanas (1988)**
Gulf Islands (2003)**

Alberta
Banff (1885)
Waterton Lakes (1895)
Jasper (1907)
Elk Island (1913)
Wood Buffalo (1922) Partially in Northwest Territories

Saskatchewan
Prince Albert (1927)
Grasslands (1981)

Manitoba
Riding Mountain (1929)
Wapusk (1996)

Ontario
Thousand Islands (1904)
Point Pelee (1918)
Georgian Bay Islands (1930)
Pukaskwa (1971)
Bruce Peninsula (1987)
Rouge (2015) Urban Park

Quebec
Forillon (1970)
La Mauricie (1970)
Mingan Archipelago (1984)**

New Brunswick
Fundy (1948)
Kouchibouguac (1969)

Nova Scotia
Cape Breton Highlands (1936)
Kejimkujik (1967)
Sable Island (2013)** 

Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island (1937)

Newfoundland and Labrador
Terra Nova (1957)
Gros Morne (1973)
Torngat Mountains (2005)
Akami-Uapishku-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains (2015)**

Yukon
Ivvavik (1984)
Kluane (1993) Both Park and Park Reserve
Vuntut (1995)

Northwest Territories
Aulavik (1992)
Tuktut Nagait (1998)
Nahanni (1972)**
Nááts’ihch’oh (2014)**
Thaidene Nëné (2019)**

Nunavut
Quttinirpaaq (1988)
Sirmilik (2001)
Auyuittuq (2001)
Ukkusiksalik (2003)
Quasuittuq (2015)