Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Parks Canada
To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, Parks Canada is offering a free Discovery Pass to each and every Canadian — that means you!
Our national parks are now more accessible than ever before, making them the perfect summer destination for seniors and people with mobility issues. Learn more.
Celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary with Parks Canada
Canada is dedicated to making our national parks accessible to all. While it’s true that not each part of every national park is entirely accessible for seniors and people with mobility issues, there are still more than enough accessible areas to visit to fill an entire summer of adventure!
Here are just a few of the great places and activities accessible to seniors at Canada’s great national parks:
1. Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia
Although it’s not owned by Parks Canada, Stanley Park is a National Historic Site of Canada. This park is one of Canada’s most famous and it is free to use on a regular basis. Located in Vancouver, Stanley Park can be reached by car, public transit or just a short walk from the heart of downtown.
The park is easily navigated for people who require the use of a wheelchair or need to make frequent stops. The park’s 10 km seawall has an accessible trail that is shared by cyclists, pedestrians and runners who can enjoy the amazing views as well as the monuments and sculptures that dot the trail. Washrooms are plentiful and well-maintained. The park also covers over 100 acres of forest, a zoo and views of the Burrard Inlet, Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver Skyline and more.
2. Thousand Islands National Park, Thousand Islands, Ontario
Located near Kingston, and only a few hours from Montreal and Toronto, Thousand Islands National Park offers riverside campsites that are accessible via kayak or motorboat. The park also now offers oTENTik sites which are, according to the Park’s website, “a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin” offering a “relaxing, easier way to experience camping.”
If you thought your camping days were over then an oTENTik might be the best way to experience all the best parts of camping without sacrificing a good night’s sleep!
3. Fundy National Park, Alma, New Brunswick
The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world. At Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, you can walk from the shore to the ocean floor, or just sit back and relax at a restaurant as you watch the tide roll in. The park offers everything from camping to RV hookups and you can even find accommodation in town if you choose to opt for an even more comfortable vacation.
4. Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta
Home to some of the most iconic Canadian landscapes, Banff offers breathtaking views around seemingly every corner. You may want to avoid some of the more difficult trails but with six world class resorts, the park can be enjoyed by anyone with limited mobility who would prefer to take it easy while enjoying Alberta, Canada’s spectacular landscape.
5. Rouge National Urban Park, Toronto, Ontario
Located in the greater Toronto area, Rouge National Urban Park brings the best of Parks Canada right into the backyard of Canada’s largest city. The park has many natural and cultural attractions, making this park a great day-trip option for anyone living close to Toronto.
6. Jasper National Park, Jasper Alberta
You may think that Jasper National Park located within the Rocky Mountains is inaccessible. While many of the trails and rivers in the Alberta park aren’t easy to get to, there are accessible adventure tours that bring some of the park’s key areas, like the Columbia Glacier, to all visitors. Brewster Travel is one operator that offers accessible vehicles to and from the vantage point and skywalk that overlook the Columbia Glacier. If the weather (and your nerves) cooperate, you can even walk out on the glacier!
How to Get Your Parks Canada Pass
These are just a few of the great parks that our country has to offer. Most of Canada’s parks are accessible, which make them an ideal summer destination for Canadians of all ages.
To get your Canada Discovery pass just visit the Parks Canada website and claim your free pass. There is a maximum of four passes per order, and you only need one pass if you are travelling as a family or group in one vehicle.
Canada’s parks belong to all of us, young and old, so get out and enjoy the great outdoors with your Parks Canada Discovery Pass!
Author’s Note: There’s a lot of debate over the accessibility of Canada’s national parks. Does the process of making our parks accessible put sustainability at risk by infringing on the natural beauty and nature that we hope to protect? Check out these two articles that explore the issue further: “Accessibility Not Admissions: A Battle Over Canada’s National Parks” and “The Disneyfication of Canada’s National Parks.”
Are you planning on taking advantage of Parks Canada’s offer of a free Discovery Pass? Which park will you visit? We’d love to hear more about your plans in the comments below.
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