National Parks | The Canadian Encyclopedia

National Parks

Canada's national parks are protected areas established under federal legislation to preserve Canada's natural heritage.

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, 2012
  1. November 25, 1885

    Banff National Park

    National Parks 

    Canada's First Park Reserve

    The federal government set aside 26 sq km around the Banff hot springs as Canada's first National Park.

  2. January 01, 1886

    Glacier National Park

    National Parks 

    Glacier National Park Established

    Glacier National Park was established in British Columbia. Glacier is famous for its black and grizzly bears, which find abundant forage on the park's avalanche slopes.

  3. December 14, 1886

    Yoho National Park

    National Parks 

    Yoho Established

    Yoho National Park in BC was established.

  4. January 01, 1895

    Scenic View of Waterton Lake National Park, Alberta Canada

    National Parks 

    Waterton Lakes National Park Established

    Waterton Lakes National Park was established. The park is situated in the southwestern corner of Alberta on the CanadaUS border. In 1932, the park was united with Montana's Glacier National Park to create the world's first international peace park.

  5. September 14, 1907

    Angel Glacier Jasper National Park

    National Parks 

    Jasper National Park Established

    Jasper Forest Reserve, later Jasper National Park, was established as the most northerly of the Rocky Mountain parks. It was named for Jasper Hawes, a fur trader.

  6. May 19, 1911

    Hot Springs Pool

    National Parks 

    National Parks Service Created

    The world's first national parks service, the Dominion Parks Branch, was established. It is now known as Parks Canada.

  7. January 01, 1913

    Elk Island Park

    National Parks 

    Elk Island National Park Established

    Elk Island National Park was established is a sanctuary of rolling woodlands and meadows dotted with lakes, bogs and ponds, 48 km east of Edmonton. Public interest in the conservation of rapidly dwindling wildlife led to the establishment of a reserve of elk in 1906, which later became Elk Island National Park. It is the only national park in Canada completely surrounded by a fence.

  8. January 01, 1914

    Mount Revelstoke Park

    National Parks 

    Mount Revelstoke National Park Established

    Mount Revelstoke National Park was established. The park is a place of contrasting landscape, varying from rain forests and lush alpine meadows to barren, rocky ridges and glaciers.

  9. January 01, 1914

    Morning Mist

    National Parks 

    ​Thousand Islands National Park Established

    Thousand Islands National Park was established. One of the smallest National Parks, it is comprised of 26 islands and about 90 islets scattered for 80 km along the St. Lawrence River from Brockville to Kingston, ON. The park was formerly called St. Lawrence Islands National Park.

  10. January 01, 1918

    Point Pelee National Park, Aerial View

    National Parks 

    Point Pelee National Park Established

    Point Pelee National Park was established. The park is located at the tip of Point Pelee, a long peninsula jutting abruptly into Lake Erie near Leamington, ON, the southernmost tip of Canada's mainland.

  11. January 01, 1920

    Radium Hot Springs

    National Parks 

    Kootenay National Park Established

    Kootenay National Park was established. The parc is located on the west slope of the Continental Divide. The park, stretching north and south for 104 km, is bounded on the east by Banff and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park on the north by Yoho National Park.

  12. January 01, 1922

    Wood Buffalo National Park

    National Parks 

    Wood Buffalo National Park Established

    Wood Buffalo National Park was established to protect the last herd of wood bison. Canada's largest national park straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories border. It was declared a world heritage site in 1983.

  13. January 01, 1927

    Prince Albert National Park

    National Parks 

    Prince Albert National Park Established

    Prince Albert National Park was established. The park is located 200 km north of Saskatoon. The cabin and grave of Grey Owl (Archibald Belaney) are located in the park beside Ajawaan Lake, where he spent the last seven years of his life.

  14. January 01, 1929

    Northern Beausoleil Island

    National Parks 

    Georgian Bay Islands National Park Established

    Georgian Bay Islands National Park was established. It comprises 59 islands located off the southeast coast of Georgian Bay.

  15. January 01, 1929

    Moose Habitat

    National Parks 

    Riding Mountain National Park Established

    Riding Mountain National Park was established. Located 265 km northwest of Winnipeg and perched almost 500 m above the prairie on the Manitoba Escarpment, the park is the "core protected area" of Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve.

  16. January 01, 1936

    Cape Breton Island, Coast

    National Parks 

    Cape Breton Highlands National Park Established

    Cape Breton Highlands National Park was established. The park stretches across the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, occupying 948 km2 of a high plateau dotted with ponds and covered with bogs and forest. This is one of the places claimed as the site of John Cabot's landfall in 1497.

  17. January 01, 1937

    Brackley Beach, PEI

    National Parks 

    Prince Edward Island National Park Established

    Prince Edward Island National Park was established. A narrow strip of coastline stretching over 40 km along the north shore of PEI, the park is a fragile seascape of red sandstone cliffs and sweeping beaches, backed by shifting sand dunes held together by the roots of slender grasses.

  18. January 01, 1948

    Fundy National Park

    National Parks 

    ​Fundy National Park Established

    Fundy National Park was established. Renowned for its high tides averaging 9 m, the park stretches for 13 km along the Bay of Fundy and extends inland where wooded hills are cut by deep valleys and tumbling streams.

  19. January 01, 1957

    Coast of Terra Nova National Park

    National Parks 

    Terra Nova National Park Established

    Terra Nova National Park was established. Canada's most easterly national park, it is located on Bonavista Bay, NF. Terra Nova is the Latin form of the name of the island, Newfoundland. The park shows evidence of Paleo-Eskimo, Dorset, Maritime Archaic and Beothuk cultures.

  20. January 01, 1969


    National Parks 

    ​Kouchibouguac National Park Established

    Kouchibouguac National Park was established. Situated on the eastern New Brunswick shore of Northumberland Strait, the park is a delicate blend of beaches, sand dunes and salt marshes. A 25 km long barrier-island system shelters lagoons from the often violent sea. Several rivers flowing across the park inspired its Mi'kmaq name "river of the long tides."

  21. January 01, 1970

    Gros Morne

    National Parks 

    Gros Morne National Park Established

    An agreement was signed to establish Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland. In 1987 Gros Morne National Park was designated a United Nations World Heritage Site because of its glacial and geologic history.

  22. January 01, 1970

    Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

    National Parks 

    Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Established

    Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was established. It stretches for 105 km along the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island and is unique in that its boundaries extend offshore in order to protect the marine environment.

  23. January 01, 1972

    Kluane National Park

    National Parks 

    ​Kluane National Park and Reserve Established

    Kluane National Park and Reserve was established. The park is an area of unclimbed peaks, vast ice fields, clear lakes, glaciers and spectacular wildlife. Tucked in the southwest corner of the Yukon Territory, 150 km west of Whitehorse, the park contains Canada's highest peak, Mount Logan. It is named after the Yukon's largest lake, which borders the park.

  24. January 01, 1974

    Kejimkujik National Park

    National Parks 

    ​​Kejimkujik National Park Established

    Kejimkujik National Park was established. The park is also a national historic site (designated in 1995) commemorating over 4,000 years of Aboriginal occupation. The name derives from a Mi'kmaq word referring to the exertion required in paddling across Kejimkujik Lake, which forms the centre of the park.

  25. January 01, 1974

    GaspéPeninsula, Satellite Image

    National Parks 

    ​Forillon National Park Established

    Forillon National Park was established. The park lies at the outer tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. The area was a traditional summer hunting and fishing ground for the Mi'kmaq and Iroquois.

  26. January 01, 1976

    Nahanni River

    National Parks 

    Nahanni National Park Reserve Established

    Nahanni National Park Reserve was established. The park is a wilderness of rugged mountains, wild rivers and luxurious hot springs stretched along the South Nahanni River in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories. The park was recognized as a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1978.

  27. April 09, 1976

    Auyuittuq National Park

    National Parks 

    Auyuittuq National Park Reserve Established

    Although the lands for Auyuittuq National Park Reserve were set aside in 1972, it was formally established 4 years later.

  28. January 01, 1977

    Lac Wapizagonke

    National Parks 

    La Mauricie National Park Established

    La Mauricie National Park was established. First set aside in 1970, the park is situated about 220 km northeast of Montréal. The remains of red-ochre rock paintings in the park testify to some 5,000 years of human history.

  29. January 01, 1978

    Pukaskwa National Park

    National Parks 

    ​Pukaskwa National Park Established

    Pukaskwa National Park was established. The park is bracketed on the west by the coastline of Lake Superior, an impressive stretch of massive headlands and beaches of golden sand or water-worn cobble. The "Pukaskwa Pits" are evidence of early habitation of the park area. The purpose of these carefully arranged boulders remains a mystery.

  30. September 05, 1978

    L'Anse Aux Meadows Viking Long Hall

    National Parks 

    Canadian World Heritage Sites

    L''Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and Nahanni National Park Reserve were two of the first 12 localities given World Heritage Site status.

  31. January 01, 1981

    Grasslands National Park

    National Parks 

    Grasslands National Park Established

    Grasslands National Park was established. It is situated in the southwestern Saskatchewan Prairies on the CanadaUS border.

  32. January 01, 1984

    Iles de Mingan

    National Parks 

    ​Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve Established

    Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve was established. The park reserve, which consists of some 40 small limestone islands, extends for 155 km between the communities of Longue-Pointe and Aguanish, QC, along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

  33. January 01, 1984

    Pacific Walrus

    National Parks 

    Ivvavik National Park Established

    Ivvavik National Park was established. Initially known as Northern Yukon National Park, it was given an Inuvialuit name in 1992. It is Canada's first park established through a native land claim settlement.

  34. January 01, 1987

    Exploring the Wetmore

    National Parks 

    ​Bruce Peninsula National Park Established

    Bruce Peninsula National Park was established. The park is located on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, at the northern terminus of the Niagara Escarpment.

  35. January 01, 1988

    Ellesmere Island

    National Parks 

    Quttinirpaaq National Park Established

    Quttinirpaaq National Park was established and was Canada's second-largest national park (after Wood Buffalo National Park). First known as Ellesmere Island National Park, Quttinirpaaq is Canada's most northerly national park and the most northerly land in North America. Its Inuit name, taken in 1999, reflects it location, "top of the world."

  36. January 01, 1992

    Aulavik National Park

    National Parks 

    ​Aulavik National Park Established

    Aulavik National Park was established. Centred on the wide Thomsen River valley on Banks Island, the park has an Inuvialuktun name that means "where people travel." The name was suggested by one of the elders of Sachs Harbour, the only community on the island.

  37. January 30, 1993

    National Parks 

    The Gwaii Haanas Agreement Was Signed

    The Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada signed the Gwaii Haanas Agreement, which designated Gwaii Haanas, the southernmost Haida Gwaii island, a National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. Clear-cut logging threatened the island, its peoples and their cultural heritage in the late 1970s through 1985. Haida protests stopped the logging, leading to this agreement.

  38. January 01, 1995

    Vuntut National Park

    National Parks 

    Vuntut National Park Established

    Vuntut National Park was established. A portion of the Old Crow Plain (locally called the Old Crow Flats) was set aside, through the settlement of the Vuntut Gwitchin comprehensive land claim in 1993, for Vuntut National Park. The park is bound to the north by Ivvavik National Park and to the west by Alaska.

  39. January 05, 1995

    Banff National Park Mountains

    National Parks 

    Banff's Ecosystem Deteriorating

    Parks Canada released a study declaring that human activity in Banff National Park was having adverse effects on the park's ecosystem.

  40. January 01, 1996

    Hudson Bay Wetland

    National Parks 

    Wapusk National Park Established

    Wapusk National Park became part of Canada's national parks system when a federal-provincial agreement was signed providing for its establishment. This national park extends to the east and south of Churchill, Manitoba, and protects a representative sample of the features and wildlife of the Hudson and James Bay lowlands.

  41. January 01, 1998

    National Parks 

    Tuktut Nogait National Park Established

    Tuktut Nogait National Park was created through the efforts of the Inuit of Paulatuk, NWT. They wanted a national park to help protect the calving grounds of the Bluenose herd of barren-ground caribou, a game animal essential to their way of life.

  42. January 01, 1999

    Sirmilik National Park, Nunavut.

    National Parks 

    Sirmilik National Park Established

    Sirmilik National Park was established. Located on northern Baffin Island in Canada's High Arctic, the park is one of Canada's isolated and most spectacular national parks. Sirmilik is an Inuktitut word that means "place of glaciers."

  43. January 01, 2001

    Auyuittuq National Park

    National Parks 

    Auyuittuq National Park Established

    Auyuittuq National Park was established. It was Canada's first national park located north of the Arctic Circle. It was first set up as a national park reserve in 1976 and established as a national park through the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

  44. January 01, 2003

    National Parks 

    Ukkusiksalik National Park Established

    Ukkusiksalik National Park was established. Located on the northwest side of Hudson Bay in Nunavut, it was first proposed as a National Park in 1978 because of the spectacular inland sea, Wager Bay, and the surrounding area. The name Ukkusiksalik in Inuktitut means "the place where soapstone to make pots and oil lamps is found."

  45. January 01, 2008

    National Parks 

    Torngat Mountains National Park Established

    Torngat Mountains National Park was established. The park encompasses 9,700 km2 of Labrador north of Saglek Fiord. Torngat in Inuktitut,Torngait refers to one of the most powerful of Inuit spirits believed to dwell in these mountains. For thousands of years, this place has been home to Inuit and their predecessors, and remains an Inuit homeland today.

  46. January 01, 2010

    Gulf Islands National Park

    National Parks 

    ​Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Established

    Gulf Islands National Park Reserve was established. The park reserve is located in the southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland.

  47. July 31, 2015

    Mealy Mountains

    National Parks 

    Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve Established

    The Canadian government announced the creation of Canada's 46th national park, the Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve in Labrador. Occupying an area the size of Jamaica, it is co-managed by the Innu, whose names for the area are Akami–uapishku and KakKasuak.