Editor’s note: as any parent, teacher or school-age child knows, summer vacation has arrived! This post was originally published on April 5, 2018, but all information remains relevant, and the topic, of course, does too. Whether you’re camping in another province, or checking out the Canadian national park nearest you, enjoy the freedom — and kids’ free entry– of our beautiful country’s great outdoors!
If a child enters for free into the forest, does anybody hear?
Have you heard the exciting news? Entrance to Canada’s national parks and historic sites is now permanently free to youth aged 17 years and under.
Kids get in free to National Parks across Canada
For students across Canada, summer vacation is just around the corner. When school’s out, it’s vital for kids to get out, too. The diverse benefits to enjoying time outdoors are innumerable. Among them:
- Physical and mental wellness
- Digitally detoxing
- Family bonding time
- Discovering Canada’s incredible landscapes
- Learning about our indigenous history
- Heightened appreciation of nature and animals
- A low or no-cost form of entertainment and education
- Exposure to unparalleled natural and historic wonders
- Plants the seed in our youngsters for future conservation efforts
Last year, to celebrate Canada’s 150th, all national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas offered free admission in 2017. The promotion was so successful, the federal government decided to continue offering free entry to children in 2018 and beyond. On average, an adult admission to our national parks and sites is $10, showing no difference in price from two years ago. The popular Discovery Pass, which gives the holder unlimited access to over 80 national parks and heritage sites for one year, will also still be available for purchase. Adult and senior admission fees go towards the conservation, care and operations of these important places and significant landmarks.
During the sesquicentennial, it wasn’t just our magnificent Rockies that showed peaks, but tourism in Canada, too. Outdoor getaways to national parks were so popular, many at-capacity camping grounds and hiking areas were forced to turn eager campers away.
At Flight Centre Canada, we witnessed a boost in flights within Canada. We also arranged itineraries for outdoor getaways to our country’s sublime national parks. These must-see places include:
- British Columbia’s breathtaking Yoho National Park of Canada, a UNESCO world heritage site;
- Alberta’s iconic Banff National Park, the first national park in Canada;
- Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park, featuring rare wildlife and kids’ explorer programs;
- Manitoba’s Wapusk National Park, located along the western shores of Hudson Bay and the Churchill River, popular for polar bear expeditions;
- Ontario’s eight national parks featuring turquoise waters like the Bruce Peninsula, pristine beauty of Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior (the world’s largest freshwater lake) and scenic Point Pelee, the southernmost tip of Canada’s mainland;
- Quebec’s stunning Saguenay Fjord and St. Lawrence Marine Parks where the many activities include whale-watching;
- Yukon’s Ivvavik, with magical, otherworldly terrains and home to the oldest river in Canada;
- NWT’s spectacular nature reserves, like Wood Buffalo, bigger than Switzerland and Canada’s largest national park;
- Nunavut’s unspoiled tundra landscapes like Auyuittuq National Park, the backdrop to grand Northern Lights celestial shows;
- Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Highlands National Park, home to the famous Cabot Trail and where you can camp alongside panoramic ocean and mountain vistas;
- New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park, with family-friendly hiking and biking trails, and rugged coastlines that overlook the Bay of Fundy, boasting the highest tides in the entire world;
- PEI’s gorgeous Prince Edward Island National Park, with scenic campgrounds that are a breath of fresh, salty ocean air;
- Newfoundland’s Gros Morne Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting natural wonders like nowhere else;
These glorious lands and lakes are just the tip of the Labrador iceberg, so to speak. Canada has more than 40 dedicated national parks –and thousands of provincial parks—that every Canadian, outdoor enthusiast or nature lover should visit.
More great news– the federal government is also making significant investments in securing private conservation land to restore healthy ecosystems. In addition to protecting biodiversity and endangered and at-risk species, national parks will be honoured with a stronger indigenous presence. Canada’s indigenous communities will also be involved in the planning of wildlife areas, sanctuaries and inland waters.
Considering the popularity of 2017’s free national park entrance program, we expect even more families will continue to enjoy this promotion, which really is a breath of fresh air!
We don’t know about you, but we are feeling particularly proud *Cue This Land is Your Land* after reflecting on our beautiful Canadian wilderness, from sweeping mountains and fjords, polar bears to whales, crystal clear lakes and mighty tundra.