Canada has some of the world’s most spectacular parks and there’s no better way to discover the great outdoors
National parks are among Canada’s (and the world’s) natural jewels representing the power of Canada’s natural environment shaping both geography and human history.
The parks include world renowned names such as Banff and Jasper, as well as more recently established Ivvavik and Vuntut parks, both in Yukon.
Parks Canada is working to maintain and restore the ecological integrity of national parks. This means keeping ecosystems healthy and whole – a state where ecosystem biodiversity structures are unimpaired and likely to persist.
Here are six of Canada’s lesser-known national parks and why your clients will want to visit them:
Located on the west coast of Newfoundland, Gros Morne is the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada (only Torngat Mountains national park is bigger). The park’s French name means “large mountain standing alone” and the park preserves a rare example of the process of contintental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle lie exposed.
Why: Gros Morne is the closest Canadian national park to the UK and has deep geological meaning.
Getting there: Domestic flights operate to Deer Lake Regional airport from St Johns, which has direct flights from the UK (four-and-and-half hours flying time)
Activities: Hiking, boat rides, Iceberg Festival (June), walking up the earth’s mantle
Package: A 13-night Newfoundland & Labrador Explorer self-drive with Canadian Sky is priced from £2,069 including flights
Located on the Bay of Fundy, near the village of Alma in New Brunswick, this park showcases a rugged coastline which rises up to the Canadian Highlands, the highest tides in the world and more than 25 waterfalls. At low tide visitors can explore the ocean floor, where a variety of sea creatures cling to life, while the ocean floor disappears at high tide under 15 metres of salt water. Inhabitants include moose, snowshoe hares, chipmunks, cormorants, red squirrels, black bears, coyotes, beavers and northern flying squirrels, among many others.
Why: Fundy National Park showcases one of the worlds highest tides
Getting there: Best accessed via Halifax airport, Nova Scotia followed by a drive into New Brunswick or a connecting flight to St. John and picking up a car hire
Activities: Hiking, whale-watching, walking on the ocean floor low tide, kayaking at high tide
Package: A 13-day Ultimate New Brunswick self-drive with Audley Travel is priced from £3,060pp including flights
Located near Shawinigan in the Laurentian Mountains, La Mauricie contains 150 lakes and ponds, while its forests have regrown from being logged up until the early 20th century. Wildlife in the park includes moose, black bears, beavers and otters, as well as a small number of wood turtles, which are rare in Canada.
Why: La Mauricie is one of the closest parks to the UK offering winter experiences making including winter camping
Getting there: The park is easily accessible either from Montreal or Quebec City airports
Activities: Hiking, wildlife viewing, scenic seaplane flights over Mauricie or experience a winter stay in a Parks Canada oTENTik (a cross between a cabin and a tent)
Package: A seven-day Wild Quebec trip with Canadian Affair is priced from 1,559pp including flights
Sitting atop the Manitoba Escarpment, the forested parkland sits in sharp contrast to the surrounding prairie farmland. It was designated a national park because it protects three ecosystems that converge in the area.
A trading post was first established on Lake Dauphin north of the present day parkby the Hudson Bay Company in 1741 and Unesco designated the park and the surrounding area as part of its Biosphere Programme in 1986.
Why: The park has strong links with the UK as Grey Owl (Briton Archibald Belaney) resided here and became one of Canada’s first conservationists.
Getting there: Winnipeg airport can be reached through a connection via Toronto, with park accessible by Highway 10.
Activities: Camping in a Parks Canada oTENTik, hiking and biking on the Manitoba Escarpment, cross-country skiing, Snowmobiling, camping, horse-riding, scuba diving
Package: A nine day group tour with Wildlife Worldwide to see Canada’s “big five” wildlife is priced from £5,995pp including flights
Located near the Alaska border, Kluane’s reserve includes Canada’s highest mountain, Mount Logan, which reaches 5,959 metres. Mountains and glaciers dominate the park’s landscape, covering 83% of its area, with the rest of land being forest and tundra.The Unesco World Heritage Site is also an important habitat for grizzly bears, caribou and Dall sheep. While the Aishihik and Kluane First Nations people have a long history of living in this region.
Why: Canada’s highest mountain, largest ice field and most diverse grizzly bear population
Getting there: Visitors fly to Whitehorse, Yukon, via Vancouver or Calgary before driving inland by rental car or motorhome
Activities: Hiking, historic trails, glacier sightseeing, indigenous First Nations culture, wildlife viewing, rafting
Package: A 15-night Yukon Adventure with Canadian Affair including flights is priced from £2,623pp
Most of the this expanding urban park is located in Toronto’s Scarborough suburb and is home to amazing biodiversity including one of the region’s largest marshes. Once fully established, Rouge will be the largest protected urban area in North America. It stretches from Lake Ontario in the south, north to the Post Glacial Oak Ridges Moraine in the north. Several tech projects are being developed, including The Rouge App, to enhance the visitor experience.
Why: Hiking and indigenous First Nations sites are two of its top attractions, all within easy reach of downtown Toronto
Getting there: Rouge’s proximity to Toronto and its hub airport make it easy for UK tourists to visit
Activities: Birdwatching, mountain biking, zip lining, camping, cross-country skiing
Package: A three-night Toronto city break with Destinology is priced from £649pp