New, exciting, breathtaking attractions on offer at Canadian parks in 2020
Here's what to book now for your spring and summer adventures
As you may already know, Canada's great provincial, national and regional parks offer a wide range of educational programs and unique activities for visitors beyond the standard camping experience. There are quirky glamping opportunities, breathtaking excursions like flightseeing and ice-climbing tours, and many more adventures available at parks nationwide — and new facilities and original offerings are added every year!
We surveyed local tourism experts and park communication teams across the country to find out the newest, most intriguing offerings you will be able to book for 2020. Now is the ideal time to start making outdoor plans; Parks Canada reservations through March 2021, for example, became available starting this month.
Here are eight new park attractions and offerings that you'll want to consider.
Have a paranormal adventure at Laurier House
National Historic Sites are an important, if lesser-known, part of Parks Canada where activities on offer include everything from séance encounters (!) to whisky tastings. A Haunted Walks program was launched in Fall 2019 at Ottawa's Laurier House in partnership with Haunted Walks Ottawa. Tickets are currently available for The Haunting at Laurier House, happening January 31–February 29, 2020.
Enjoy wheelchair-accessible trails and campsites in Yukon Parks
In recent years, Yukon Parks has focused on building wheelchair-accessible campsites and nature trails at a number of sites. At Wolf Creek Campground near Whitehorse, for example, there is a new Tágà Shro "big river" trail — created in partnership with the Kwänlin Dün First Nation and Ta'an Kwäch'än Council — that offers scenic viewpoints. Importantly, there are interpretive panels teaching visitors about the area's Southern Tutchone First Nations language.
Glamp at Point Pelee National Park
Parks Canada has been offering its oTENTik roofed accommodations for several years now and they're newly available at southwestern Ontario's Point Pelee National Park, which is located at the southernmost point of mainland Canada. The brand new Camp Henry oTENTik village features 24 tents and can be booked year-round. The park is well known for its superlative bird-watching opportunities and designation as a Dark Sky Preserve.
Reserve a shipping container in the skies at Parc national du Mont-Mégantic
This popular park in Quebec offers many different accommodation options, but we're pretty excited about the unique new hut near the peak of Mont Saint-Joseph that just became available for booking this winter. It sleeps two, is located 1,045 metres above sea level, and was constructed from a converted shipping container. Imagine the stars you can see — Parc national du Mont-Mégantic was the first International Dark Sky Reserve.
Play on an inflatable water park at Blackstrap Provincial Park
The new inflatable water park experience at Saskatchewan's Rowan's Ravine Provincial Park, introduced last year, was a huge hit with visitors. For 2020, there will be a second on-lake waterpark installed at Blackstrap Provincial Park, just south of Saskatoon.
Stay in modern luxury at Jasper National Park
Opened just 7 months ago, the gorgeous Glacier View Lodge in Jasper National Park markets itself as "Canada's only glacier-view resort." This all-inclusive destination may just be the most luxurious, and convenient, way to experience the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier.
Go north to Torngat Mountains National Park
It's now just a little easier to access and to experience Newfoundland's remote Torngat Mountains National Park. Air Borealis, the new operator for Base Camp, flies in from Goose Bay and offers two distinctive sightseeing packages for 2020. Unique excursions during these all-inclusive adventures can include activities such as fishing for arctic char, helicopter flights, and iceberg spotting.
Stay in a cabin at Cultus Lake Provincial Park
Great news for outdoors-lovers in the Lower Mainland, last summer B.C. Parks debuted cabin accommodations at Cultus Lake Provincial Park for the first time (previously, the park offered just two RV trailers for rent). The 25 new, wheelchair-accessible cabins at the Maple Bay Campground were designed with input from the non-profit organization Spinal Cord Injury B.C., and the washrooms and showers at the campground are also accessible.
Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.