Did you know that Parks Canada protects 49 National Parks, 172 National Historic Sites and three National Marine Conservation Areas throughout our vast country? These places are incredibly special and represent important examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. Did you also know that we have three of these locations in our very own southern Vancouver Island backyard?
This spring, explore local and connect virtually to far-away places with your friends and family. Become a part of the Parks Canada community that literally stretches from coast to coast to coast!
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a group of protected islands and islets scattered throughout the Salish Sea, accessible by BC Ferries to Pender, Saturna and Mayne Islands. Popular with recreational boaters, cyclists, day hikers, and frontcountry and backcountry campers alike. Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers a myriad of outdoor and marine-based activities for visitors.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are two distinct historic sites located in Colwood, just 20 minutes west of downtown Victoria. The sites welcome visitors to experience a myriad of stories and activities about history, nature, Indigenous culture.
Ways to Connect
1. Become a “Citizen Scientist.” Record your own nature observations! Download the iNaturalist App, and join the Parks Canada iNaturalist account. This fun and interactive social network allows everyone to participate in science and conservation initiatives. Hike a trail or explore a beach in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve , or take a walk through the Historic Nature Trail at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites and start recording what you find.
2. Grow an appreciation for history. Let your youngsters’ imaginations run wild! Feel history come to life as you explore the grounds at Fort Rodd Hill, or wander through 160-year-old Fisgard Lighthouse. Read the interpretive signs, and pick up your scavenger hunt or Xplorers booklet just outside of the Welcome Centre to learn as you go.
3. Embrace spring. Did you know that the southern Gulf Islands are known for their Mediterranean-like climate? This is why visitors to Gulf Islands National Park Reserve are rewarded with a lush paradise of rare ecosystems. From a short jaunt down to the ocean’s edge, to longer day-hikes, find fresh air, beautiful views, and space to physically distance with your family.
4. Delve into virtual travel. For those days when the weather isn’t on your side, or times when staying closer to home is the best choice, explore Parks Canada places online:
• The Parks Canada YouTube channel has educational videos sharing stories from all over the country. It’s a sure-fired way to spark engaging conversations and share thoughts and memories with children of all ages.
• Join Parka on the Parks Canada website as this playful mascot shares fun activities you can do from your home, including experiences, crafts and recipes. You’ll also find a handful of printable coloring sheets, which are great for children and adults alike.
• Remember the 48 national parks, 172 national historic sites and three national marine conservation areas mentioned earlier? Each of these places has a website with stories, maps, and images that will allow you to “travel” from the comfort of home.
And don’t forget, all Parks Canada places—in person and online—can be experienced in both English and French. Happy adventuring!
Islands National Park Reserve:
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites:
Parks Canada YouTube Channel: