Canada has an extensive National Parks system. The first national park to be established in Canada was Banff in 1885. Initially the goal of the parks system was a balance between conserving natural areas for the public as well as creating economic opportunities for Canada’s economy. The National Parks Act of 1930 was a historic shift in the parks system and put the focus on preservation. Again in 1979 the National Parks Act was revised and again a bigger push towards conservation and maintaining habitats in their natural unaltered states. There are national parks in every province and territory stretching from coast to coast.
I have been planing to visit some of the Canadian National Parks this year. However I was unable to find a set of maps that covered quite what I wanted to I decided to make my own. As the trip I am planning is a road trip I wanted a general map showing the locations of the parks in relation to major highways. This way I could plan visits to ones which are approachable while traversing our beautiful country. In addition I wanted the base layer of the map to give some idea of the terrain to show if the parks were in plains, mountains or waterways.
I was able to source data from Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) to get shapefiles with the outlines of the 46 national parks in Canada. I also collected data from Natural Earth to get a shaded relief basemap and the major road networks. Combining this I present to you Maps of National Parks in Canada. I created a Nation Wide map in addition to the West Coast, North, Central, Quebec, and Eastern Canada. Please find the maps below available in both jpg and pdf. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions regarding these maps.
This map shows all of the National Parks in Canada. It is designed to broadly show all of the parks in relation to the major highways in Canada. Keep looking below to find more detailed maps showing specific regions in Canada.
The west coast map focuses on British Columbia and Alberta. Alberta has numerous parks covering the Rocky Mountains including Banff and Jasper National Parks. On the British Columbia side there are Glacier and Yoho National parks.
Northern Canada (i.e., the Territories) has quite a number of National Parks. These ones however are likely less often visited due to their remote nature and difficulty to access. Ivvavik and Vuntut are two of the newer national parks located in the Yukon. They are both extremely remote and access by air is the recommended option. Sirmilik National Park is an Arctic national park located on the northern tip of Barrin Island. Quttinirpaaq is Canada’s second largest national park and is located as far north as you can get in North America. Within it you will find Arctic hare, Peary caribou, narwhals and the grand Mount Barbeau (rising to 2,616 m above sea level). Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories contains hotsprings, alpine tundra, mountain ranges and four canyons.
The map of Central Canada national parks is focused on Manitoba and Ontario. In Manitoba Riding Mountain national park provides an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the prairies. It features the sandy beaches of Clear Lake, howling wolves, black bears and bison. Wapusk National Park is located in northern Manitoba along Hudson Bay and is home polar bears, moose, wolves, fox and a caribou herd. In Northern Ontario along the north shore of Lake Superior is Pukaskwa National Park, the largest in Ontario.
Southern Ontario and Quebec
National Parks in this region include a few smaller ones located in Southern Ontario such as Fanthom Five and Point Pelee. Along the St. Lawrence River there is the Thousand Islands National Park and the Saguenay – St Lawrence National Park. Northwest of the St. Lawrence in Quebec is La Mauricie National Park which contains over conifer and hardwood forests with over 150 lakes.
Quebec and Labrador
The majority of national parks in Quebec are located in the south and along the St. Lawrence. In Labrador the Torngat Mountains National Park covers over 9,700 km2. It contains fjord’s, icebergs, the peaks of the Torngat Mountains as well as polar bears, seals and caribou.
Eastern Canada contains a number of parks spread between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Gros Morne in Newfound land contains fjords and mountains. Terra Nova is the most easterly national park and contains boreal forests and amazing ocean scenery. Cape Breton National Park in Nova Scotia hosts part of the famous Cabot Trail and lush forested canyons cut across an ancient plateau. Kejimkujik National Park is a paddlers paradise with a bounty of lakes and portage trails. Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick contains sand dunes, estuaries and some of the warmest ocean beaches on the east coast.