CANADA 150

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - News -

The world be­lieves we are po­lite, hum­ble, and peace­ful peo­ple who live in a land of snow and ice while play­ing hockey 12 months of the year. I sup­pose most of that is true. Heads down, we work and play in the se­cu­rity of a na­tion with oceans on three sides and a neigh­bour we made peace with 203 years ago.

By land­mass, we are the largest democ­racy on the planet. The first place Euro­peans dis­cov­ered in North Amer­ica, when in 985 CE Erik the Red and his Vik­ings landed on our shores. And while the name Christo­pher Colum­bus is syn­ony­mous with Euro­pean dis­cov­ery of North Amer­ica, he never ac­tu­ally landed on the main­land. Af­ter the Vik­ings, it was John Cabot who landed in New­found­land in 1497, pro­vid­ing the ba­sis for Bri­tish claims to North Amer­ica. The sub­se­quent 520 years, in­clud­ing the of­fi­cial for­ma­tion of our coun­try in 1867, is a long his­tory of con­tri­bu­tions to the world, by a na­tion of sci­en­tists, artists, ad­ven­tur­ers, ath­letes

and ex­plor­ers.

It’s time for a fire­side chat on how to spend a year (which isn’t enough time) to share our sto­ries, visit our parks and mon­u­ments, dance at fes­ti­vals, sing songs and in­dulge in an orgy of pa­tri­o­tism. We can be hum­ble again next year.

The Canada Parks Pass could be the great­est gift of the sesqui­cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tion. The Dis­cov­ery Pass will al­low Cana­di­ans and vis­i­tors from around the world, free ad­mis­sion to Canada’s Na­tional Parks and Na­tional Historic Sites.

You can get yours on­line here: www.com­man­desparcs-park­sor­ders.ca/ we­bapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/parks­b2c

There are 38 Na­tional Parks and eight Na­tional Park Re­serves, which are de­signed to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of both spec­tac­u­lar as well as dis­tinctly unique land­scapes. A re­serve is an area that is in­tended to be­come a na­tional park pend­ing set­tle­ment of na­tive land claims. The pri­mary goal of the parks is to pre­serve the ecol­ogy, and sec­ondary goal is to al­low us to en­joy their nat­u­ral splen­dor. Clock­wise around the coun­try start­ing in New­found­land, the prov­ince that marks the ori­gin of our mod­ern his­tory, and stop­ping in each prov­ince and ter­ri­tory, here are our fea­tured na­tional parks.

1. GROS MORNE NA­TIONAL PARK, NEW­FOUND­LAND

Not only is it a na­tional park but it’s also a UNESCO world her­itage site. Gla­cially carved fjords with 600 me­tre cliffs drop to meet sandy beaches as you hike awestruck past forests, wa­ter­falls, bogs and bar­ren low­lands. The ge­ol­ogy helped proved the the­ory of plate tec­ton­ics – how con­ti­nents move. Wildlife through­out the park in­clude Moose, Wood­land Cari­bou, Black Bears, Red Fox, Arc­tic Hare and in­nu­mer­able bird species. There are over 100 kilo­me­tres of trails; let the ex­plorer in you in­dulge in sea kayak­ing and trekking ad­ven­tures, take a fish­ing char­ter for cod, her­ring, hal­ibut or shark, or try your hand at lob­ster trap­ping fol­lowed by a lob­ster boil on the beach.

In ad­di­tion to the nat­u­ral at­trac­tions, the sur­round­ing sea­side com­mu­ni­ties are a fer­tile ground for fes­ti­vals and the arts, mu­se­ums and cul­tural cen­tres.

Gros Morne has three reserv­able camp­grounds on their sys­tem: Trout River, Berry Hill and Shal­low Bay (1-877-7373783 or www.reser­va­tion.pc.gc.ca). Or try;

Gros Morne RV/Camp­ground Toll Free: +1 (877) 488 3133 info@gros­mornerv­camp­ground.com www.gros­mornerv­camp­ground.com

And there is a com­plete list­ing of camp­grounds and RV parks at www.new­found­land­labrador.com.

Check out a list of fes­ti­vals and other trip plan­ning tools at

http://vis­it­gros­morne.com

2. CAPE BRETON HIGH­LANDS NA­TIONAL PARK, NOVA SCOTIA

Hik­ers come here to stare at the steep cliffs and catch glimpses of wildlife like the elu­sive Canada Lynx, moose, bald ea­gle, rock vole and Gaspe shrew. But you can also en­joy the park on a bike or through your RV wind­shield, as part of the Cabot Trail scenic high­way hugs the coast­line where Nova Scotia rises from the North At­lantic. Nu­mer­ous view­points al­low you to stop and take pho­tos, breathe in the sea air and per­haps catch sight of a minke or pilot whale. Or be en­thralled with views over the table­lands, the flat-

topped moun­tains of the High­land Plateau.

Sandy beaches of­fer respite from full days of hik­ing, kayak­ing, golf­ing, cy­cling, fish­ing and sight­see­ing.

Broad Cove Camp­ground (Parks Canada) (902) 224-2306 This and more camp­grounds at; www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ns/cbre­ton/ac­tiv/ camp­ing.aspx#A5

MORE PARK INFO; www.parkscanada.gc.ca/cape­bre­ton

3. PRINCE ED­WARD IS­LAND NA­TIONAL PARK, PRINCE ED­WARD IS­LAND

10,000 year old ar­chae­o­log­i­cal digs, unique dunes tow­er­ing over white sand beaches, 50km’s of hik­ing/bik­ing trails to ex­plore when you’re not camped on the ocean, and uniquely Cana­dian cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences like Green Gables, part of L. M. Mont­gomery’s Cavendish Na­tional Historic Site, and Dal­vay-bythe-Sea Na­tional Historic Site – what are you wait­ing for? Cavendish Camp­ground pnipe.peinp@pc.gc.ca (877) 737-3783 www.reser­va­tion.parkscanada.gc.ca

MORE PARK INFO; www.parkscanada.gc.ca/pei

4. FUNDY NA­TIONAL PARK, NEW BRUNSWICK

At the head of the bay, the high­est tides in the world reach a dra­matic 16 me­tres, the height of a four-story build­ing. At low tide, vis­i­tors can hike over a kilo­me­tre into the in­ter-tidal zone to see the seabed with­out scuba gear. And al­though the Bay of Fundy is the ma­jor draw of this park, the forested Cale­do­nia High­lands Plateau rises 300 me­tres from the coast en­cap­su­lat­ing the bogs, birds, am­phib­ians and rep­tiles that call this Aca­dian for­est home.

120 kilo­me­tres of hik­ing/walk­ing trails pass wa­ter­falls and clear run­ning streams as well as cap­ti­vate with stir­ring coastal views. Canoe or kayak on Ben­net Lake, tee off on Fundy Na­tional Park Golf Course, en­joy a skit or square dance at Molly Kool’s Kitchen Party at the park en­trance, or for a truly unique ex­pe­ri­ence snorkel with sal­mon at the fa­mous Black Hole, an In­ner Bay of Fundy At­lantic Sal­mon re­search site.

Try ei­ther Chignecto North or Head­quar­ters Camp­grounds, both of which have pullthrough sites; www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/nb/fundy/ac­tiv/ camp­ing.aspx 506-887-6000

MORE PARK INFO; www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fundy

email; fundy.info@pc.gc.ca

5. THE MINGAN ARCHIPELAGO NA­TIONAL PARK RE­SERVE, QUE­BEC

Just a short (ge­o­log­i­cally) 500 mil­lion years ago, the re­gion was a trop­i­cal sea, ahh the good ol’ days in Canada. Cal­cium rich sea crea­tures lived then died, sink­ing to bot­tom cre­at­ing sed­i­men­tary lime­stone de­posits. When the con­ti­nents shifted, the sea drained, then wind and wave ero­sion cre­ated the largest con­cen­tra­tion of ero­sion mono­liths in Canada along a 150-kilo­me­tre stretch of the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

You can visit from June to Septem­ber to wan­der and won­der among the rare plants, view ma­rine birds in­clud­ing puffins, ra­zor­bills, guille­mots, terns, and kit­ti­wakes, and ex­pe­ri­ence the oth­er­worldly ge­o­log­i­cal fea­tures in this unique Cana­dian na­tional park.

There are roughly 40 main is­lands filled with walk­ing/hik­ing trails ac­ces­si­ble by boat or kayak. Un­for­tu­nately you can’t camp there with your RV but the is­lands and islets are ac­ces­si­ble by boat for wa­ter tours and day trips with tours leav­ing from Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan and Havre-St.Pierre. Wa­ter taxis al­low overnight tent camp­ing at one of 42 camp­sites spread over six is­lands.

Web: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/mingan Nearby RV Park; Camp­ing de la Min­ganie 109, rue de la Mer Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan G0G 1V0 866-949-2307

in­for­ma­tion@tourisme-loiselle.com For more parks visit www.camp­ingque­bec.com

6. BRUCE PENIN­SULA NA­TIONAL PARK, ONTARIO

The Ni­a­gara Es­carp­ment pro­vides the eroded cliffs that drop into the wa­ters of Ge­or­gian Bay. It is home to more than 300 species of birds and wildlife in­clud­ing black bears, por­cu­pines and white tailed deer. Walk­ing and hik­ing trails are rated from easy to ex­pert so stop in at the vis­i­tor cen­tre in Tober­mory for maps and in­for­ma­tion. The cen­tre also pro­vides info on Fathom Five Na­tional Ma­rine Park – a pop­u­lar scuba dive area with wrecks and caves, some of which are vis­i­ble from glass bot­tom boat tours.

The area is rich in ex­pe­ri­ences in­clud­ing ca­noe­ing, kayak­ing, swim­ming, climb­ing, and boul­der­ing. Pack your pic­nic bas­ket, grab your cam­era and choose your ad­ven­ture. Make sure you hit the two iconic Bruce Penin­sula sights, the ‘Flower Pot’ and ‘The Grotto’.

There are no ser­viced sites in camp­grounds within the parks. The drive-in camp­ground is Cy­press Lake Camp­ground. Reser­va­tions are strongly rec­om­mended. They can be made on-line at www.reser­va­tion.pc.gc.ca or by call­ing 1-877-RE­SERVE (877-737-3783)

MORE PARK INFO: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/bruce

MORE VIS­I­TOR INFO: www.ex­plorethe­bruce.com

NEARBY RV PARK: Lands End Park 59 Corey Cres Tober­mory, Ontario, N0H 2R0 Phone: 519-596-2523 http://www.land­send­park.com

For more camp­grounds in Ontario visit www.campingi­non­tario.ca

7. RID­ING MOUN­TAIN NA­TIONAL PARK

I orig­i­nally choose Wa­pusk Na­tional Park, Man­i­toba as it is a sub­arc­tic area per­fect for po­lar bear sight­ings, arc­tic foxes, arc­tic hares, wolves, cari­bou and wolver­ine as well as more than 200 bird species. How Cana­dian is that. How­ever, it is a two-day train ride, or a flight to Churchill, where ex­pe­ri­enced tour op­er­a­tors are re­quired to en­joy what the re­gion has to of­fer. Visit www.na­tion­al­geo­graphic.com/travel/parks/ wa­pusk-canada-park/ for more in­for­ma­tion.

In­stead I de­cided to fea­ture a park you can RV to in Man­i­toba. Rid­ing Moun­tain Na­tional Park is 3000 sq km of rugged Cana­dian bo­real for­est filled with wild black bear, elk, moose, and lynx. You’ll also be able to see plains bi­son that live in an

en­clo­sure by Lake Audy.

There is an ex­ten­sive trail net­work for hik­ing, bik­ing, bird­ing and horse­back rid­ing.

But for all the nat­u­ral ter­rain, it is one of only five na­tional parks that also in­clude a re­sort town, in this case, Wasagam­ing, which is on the shore of Clear Lake and of­fers a civ­i­lized break of shops and restau­rants, along with beaches and boat rentals.

NEARBY RV: Wasagam­ing Camp­ground is with walk­ing dis­tance of Wasagam­ing and has pullthru sites with power. www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/mb/rid­ing/ ac­tiv/ac­tiv2/ac­tiv2_i.aspx www.reser­va­tion.pc.gc.ca or by call­ing 1-877-RE­SERVE (877-737-3783)

MORE PARK INFO: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/rid­ing

MORE VIS­I­TOR INFO: http://dis­cov­er­clear­lake.com

8. GRASSLANDS NA­TIONAL PARK, SASKATCHEWAN

No Cana­dian Parks fea­ture would be com­plete with­out Grasslands Na­tional Park, a park ded­i­cated to pre­serv­ing the 70 dif­fer­ent species of grass and over 50 dif­fer­ent species of wild­flow­ers in the na­tive prairie grass­land. We think of the prairies as im­mense, reach­ing be­yond the vis­i­ble hori­zons. But the na­tive grasslands is an en­dan­gered biome, re­duced by 80% over the last cen­tury.

Hik­ing is all en­com­pass­ing, from fam­ily-friendly walks to ex­treme back­coun­try ad­ven­tures in the hoodoos. Take the Ecoscenic tour and on your Saskatchewan Sa­fari watch out for bi­son and prairie dog colonies, and ex­plore an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig. Live the west­ern life­style on a horse­back ride, try your hand with a lasso and take a wagon ride. Af­ter watch­ing a spec­tac­u­lar prairie sun­set, sit by the camp­fire un­til the last of the day­light fades to re­veal the twin­kling cos­mos over­head. You are in Canada’s dark­est dark sky pre­serve look­ing back in time at the light of a mil­lion stars. NEARBY RV: French­man Val­ley Camp­ground, West Block has only 20 elec­tric sites with three pull thru’s, while Rock Creek Camp­ground is un­der­go­ing up­grades to pro­vide elec­tric ser­vice. Best to re­serve ahead. 1.877.737.3783

MORE CAMP­GROUND INFO: www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/sk/grasslands/ac­tiv/ ac­tiv4/ac­tiv4a.aspx

MORE PARK INFO: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/grasslands

9. BANFF NA­TIONAL PARK, ALBERTA

Canada’s first na­tional park can be the po­lar op­po­site of many other na­tional parks, as rus­tic camp­ing is com­ple­mented by five star re­sorts and gold medal din­ing. But at its very essence, it is still the great Cana­dian out­doors where snow-capped moun­tains that reach to Olym­pus rise from peace­ful turquoise lakes. Hike, bike, horse­back, canoe, kayak, fish in sum­mer then re­turn for win­ter for ski­ing, to­bog­gan­ing, skat­ing and snow­shoe­ing in win­ter.

Cana­dian cul­ture can also be en­joyed in the mu­se­ums, which pay trib­ute to our nat­u­ral and mod­ern his­tory. From golf to gon­do­las, and dogsled­ding to din­ing, this Cana­dian trea­sure al­most has it all.

Tun­nel Moun­tain Trailer and Lake Louise Trailer of­fer fully ser­viced sites within the

park. 1-877-RE­SERVE (737-3783)

MORE INFO ON AC­TIV­I­TIES AND AT­TRAC­TIONS: https://www.banf­flakelouise.com www.parkscanada.gc.ca/banff MORE INFO ON CAMP­GROUNDS: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/ ac­tiv/camp­ing.aspx

10. PA­CIFIC RIM NA­TIONAL PARK RE­SERVE, BRI­TISH COLUMBIA

50 km’s of sandy beaches and rugged coast hem in the tem­per­ate rain­for­est of this park on the west­ern edge of Vancouver Is­land. From in­ter­pre­tive walks to the 75 km back­coun­try West­coast Trail, you can choose the level of dif­fi­culty to suit your own per­sonal ad­ven­ture. The Bro­ken Group Is­lands pro­vide a boatin-only ex­pe­ri­ence while the nearby towns of Tofino and Ucluelet sat­isfy more civ­i­lized pur­suits, and guided ma­rine ad­ven­tures. You can strike off vir­tu­ally ev­ery wa­ter ac­tiv­ity from your bucket list here in­clud­ing kayak surf­ing, surf­ing, kite board­ing, pad­dle board­ing, salt­wa­ter sport­fish­ing and more.

Im­merse in the First Na­tion cul­ture through in­ter­pre­tive walks and ar­ti­sanal work.

MORE PARK INFO: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/paci­fi­crim

The camp­grounds op­er­ated by Parks Canada are no­to­ri­ously busy. So try th­ese well-re­viewed pri­vate RV parks:

Crys­tal Cove 1165 Cedar­wood Place,Tofino, BC 1 877 725 4213 info@crys­tal­cove.ca http://www.crys­tal­cove.ca

Pachena Bay Camp­ground 90 Ana­cla Re­serve, Bam­field, BC Phone:(250) 728-1287

http://hfn­de­vel­op­mentlp.org

11. KLUANE NA­TIONAL PARK AND RE­SERVE, YUKON TER­RI­TORY

This is the na­tional park of ‘…est’. Here you’ll find 5959-me­tre Mount Lo­gan, Canada’s high­est peak, as well as Canada’s largest ice­field and most di­verse griz­zly pop­u­la­tion. As you can imag­ine, back­coun­try trekking is at its most ex­treme here but hik­ing, bik­ing and walk­ing trails are high­way ac­ces­si­ble from Kath­leen Lake, where you can also ex­plore the nat­u­ral and cul­tural his­tory from the vis­i­tor cen­tre.

Aside from the moun­taineer­ing and mul­ti­day treks, you can raft past glaciers on the Alsek River, or take a spec­tac­u­lar flight-see­ing tour. Bring your moun­tain bike to ex­plore trails and old min­ing roads, your fish­ing rod to tar­get lake trout, arc­tic grayling and rain­bow trout, and your canoe, kayak or mo­tor­boat to en­joy the wa­ters of Kath­leen and Mush Lake.

You won’t find ser­viced or pullthru sites in the area but the ex­pe­ri­ence more than makes up for the rus­tic camp­grounds.

MORE CAMP­GROUND INFO: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/yt/kluane/ visit/2/b.aspx#k3 More park info: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/kluane

12. NAHANNI NA­TIONAL PARK RE­SERVE, NORTH­WEST TER­RI­TO­RIES

Na­tional Geo­graphic ranks the South Nahanni River trip among its top 20 tourism ad­ven­tures in the world. This is a park for ex­treme out­door ad­ven­tur­ers and is con­sid­ered a pad­dlers par­adise for its deep river canyons and thrilling white­wa­ter.

If words like portage and food cache are part of your daily vo­cab­u­lary, you’ll be right at home. This is Canada’s land of the mid­night sun and home to the aurora bo­re­alis, some­thing ev­ery Cana­dian should ex­pe­ri­ence. Wilder­ness and river ad­ven­ture com­pa­nies can help you safely ex­plore the re­gion, show­ing you the won­ders of ev­ery­thing from mi­grat­ing cari­bou to the as­tound­ing Vir­ginia Falls, which is twice the height of Ni­a­gara Falls.

Now the bad news. There are no pub­lic roads in Nahanni Na­tional Park Re­serve. Most vis­i­tors travel to the park by char­tered float­plane from Fort Simp­son and Yel­lowknife in the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, Mun­cho Lake in Bri­tish Columbia, and Wat­son Lake, Yukon.

MORE PARK INFO: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/nahanni

Li­cenced out­fit­ters to help you en­joy the trip of a life­time: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/nt/ nahanni/visit/visit3.aspx

13. AUYUITTUQ NA­TIONAL PARK, NUNAVUT

This time I’ll start with you can’t RV to here, but that doesn’t mean you should give up, just fo­cus on get­ting close. It’s the land of nar­whals and po­lar bears, the only na­tional park north of the Arc­tic Cir­cle. Ex­treme hik­ers and back­coun­try campers are drawn to the area. Your best bet for an as­tound­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is through a li­cenced guide or tour oper­a­tor, for a cur­rent list con­tact the Park Of­fice in Pang­nir­tung at 867-473-2500

MORE PARK INFO: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/auyuittuq

CANADA 150 Top to Bot­tom: View from the top of Gros Morne Moun­tain, Cabot Trail in Cape Breton and Cape Breton High­lands Na­tional Park.

CANADA 150 Clock­wise: Near Cavendish Beach, Fundy Na­tional Park and the Mingan Archipelago Na­tional Park.

CANADA 150 Top: Bruce Penin­sula, Bot­tom: Bruce Penin­sula Na­tional Park.

CANADA 150 Top: Grasslands Na­tional Park, Bot­tom: Banff Na­tional Park.

CANADA 150 Top: Pa­cific Rim Na­tional Park, Bot­tom: Kluane Na­tional Park.

CANADA 150 Top: Na­hani Na­tional Park, Bot­tom: Auyuittuq Na­tional Park.

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