With the release of Parks Canada’s Discovery Pass, which entitles holders to visit any of the country’s 46 national parks for free in 2017, a record number of visitors are expected to flock to popular parks. Skip the crowds and explore one of these lesser-known spots.
1. Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
The most easterly of Canada’s national parks, Terra Nova remains one of the least visited. However, at only three hours from St. John’s, it’s easily accessible.
2. Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, Quebec
The 10-hour drive from Quebec City is probably what keeps most from trekking to the north shores of the St. Lawrence River. However, Mingan Archipelago is far from empty; it’s full of creatures, both real and fantastic.
3. Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
Located in Southern Saskatchewan, Grasslands is what the area looked like before the West was won.
4. Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario
Imagine the pristine beauty of cottage country but without all the cottages. Pukaskwa, a four-hour drive east of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior, is the site of the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline in the Great Lakes.
5. Wood Buffalo National Park, NWT/Alberta
Everything about Wood Buffalo National Park is big. With an area larger than Switzerland, it’s not just Canada’s largest protected area; it’s also home to the world’s largest beaver dam and the world’s largest herd of free-roaming bison.
6. Wapusk, Manitoba
Wapusk National Park isn’t technically one of the least-known national parks in Canada; it’s just one of the least visited. Cree for white bear, Wapusk is located just south of Churchill, famous for its polar bear population.
7. Aulavik, NWT
Although Aulavik translates to where people travel, you might have a hard time finding someone to show your Discovery Pass to when you land on northern Banks Island.