Parks Canada
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A Brief History of Canada's National Parks




About the Author

Chapter 1 The Early Years (Up to 1900)


The National Park Idea

Early Exploration
     Missionary Travels
     The Palliser Expedition
     Dr. Hector's Discoveries
     Exploration Beyond the Mountains

British Columbia Enters Confederation

Transcontinental Railway Projected
     Rogers Pass Selected
     Rocky Mountains Crossed

Scientific Exploration

Hot Springs Discovered
     Claims of Ownership
     Public Reservation Recommended
     Public Inquiry Instituted
     Commissioner Pearce's Recommendations

Development of Springs Proposed

Park Legislation Initiated
     Debate in the Commons
     National Park Established

Early Visitor Amenities
     Banff Townsite Takes Form
     Access to Scenic Areas

Administrative Changes
     The Banff Lot Scandal
     New Superintendent Appointed

The Lake Louise Reservation

More Park Reserves
     Yoho and Glacier Reserves
     Waterton Lakes Forest Park

Park Idea Confirmed

Chapter 2 Expansion in the West (1900 to 1981)


Banff National Park
     The Park is Enlarged
     A New Parks Act
     The Automobile Arrives
     Hot Springs Development
     Cave and Basin Springs
     Plans for Centennial
     Winter Sports Activity

Yoho National Park
     Yoho Valley Explored
     Yoho Becomes a Park
     Hotels and Lodges
     The Monarch Mine

Glacier National Park
     Glacier House and Station
     Nakimu Caves Discovered
     The Connaught Tunnel
     Avalanche Control

Waterton Lakes National Park
     Larger Park Recommended
     Kootenay Lakes Forest Reserve
     Waterton Lakes Park Created

Elk Island National Park
     Reserve for Elk
     Buffalo Herd Purchased
     Eradication of Disease
     Private Land Purchase
     Park Development
     Drive-in Buffalo Enclosure
     Ukrainian Museum

Jasper National Park
     Forest Park Established
     Railway Construction
     Highway Development
     Visitor Accommodation

Mount Revelstoke National Park
     Early Park Visitors
     Road to Summit
     Trans-Canada Highway
     Winter Sports Development

Kootenay National Park
     Mountain Highway Planned
     Terms of the Agreement
     Development at the Springs

Wood Buffalo National Park
     Early Protective Measures
     Infectious Diseases
     Whooping Crane Located
     Indian Rights

Prince Albert National Park
     Animal Park Proposed
     Park Development
     Grey Owl's Activities

Riding Mountain National Park
     First Park Proposals
     Early Exploration
     Campgrounds Popular
     Winter Recreation

Pacific Rim National Park
     Three Components
     Rich Indian History

Grasslands National Park
     Prairie Landscape

Chapter 3 Parks of Eastern Canada (1904 to 1981)


St. Lawrence Islands National Park
     Early Island Parks
     First Visitors
     St. Lawrence Islands Bridge
     Islands are Purchased

Point Pelee National Park
     Early History
     Naval Reserve Established
     Gun Club Lease
     Natural Resources Exploited
     Park Development

Georgian Bay Islands National Park
     Indian Occupation
     Explorers and Missionaries
     Iroquois Invasions
     Archaeological Research
     Beausoleil Island Settled
     Indian Legends
     National Park Advocated
     Flowerpot Island

Cape Breton Highlands National Park
     National Park Promoted
     Early History
     The Cabot Trail
     The Lone Shieling
     Wildlife Repopulation

Prince Edward Island National Park
     Inspection of Sites
     Dalvay by the Sea
     Green Gables
     Visitor Accommodation

Fundy National Park
     Early Representations
     Park Development
     Visitor Accommodation
     Arts and Crafts

Terra Nova National Park
     Early Park Proposals
     Agreement is Reached
     Official Opening

Kejimkujik National Park
     The Park Takes Form
     Indian Occupation
     Campground Development
     The Fish Hatchery

Kouchibouguac National Park
     Economic Stimulus
     Outstanding Sandbars

Gros Morne National Park
     Regional Benefits
     Initial Development

Pukaskwa National Park
     Indian Rights to Continue
     Superb Wilderness

Chapter 4 National Parks in Quebec

     Numerous Representations Made
     Mont Tremblant Area Examined
     Gaspé Peninsula Investigated

Federal-Provincial ARDA Agreement
     Forillon Park Agreement
     Additional Park Area Sought
     La Mauricie Agreement Signed

Forillon National Park
     Indian Occupation
     The Cod Fisheries
     Highways and Trails
     Park Activity Centres

La Mauricie National Park
     Prehistoric Occupation
     Planning and Development
     Forest Fire Protection
     The Parkway
     Park Trail System
     Winter Use

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve

Chapter 5 North of Sixty


Kluane National Park Reserve
     Natural History
     Flora and Fauna
     Human History

Nahanni National Park Reserve
     Natural History
     Flora and Fauna
     Human History

Auyuittuq National Park Reserve
     Natural History
     Flora and Fauna
     Human History

Northern Yukon National Park
     Canada - COPE Agreement

Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve
     Most Northerly Lands
     Thermal Oases

Chapter 6 National Historic Parks and Heritage Canals

     Historic Sites and Monuments Board
     The Fortress of Louisbourg
     Heritage Canals
     Canadian Heritage Rivers
     Chronology of Significant Events

Chairmen of Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Map of National Parks of Canada (PDF format)

Published by authority of
the Minister of the Environment
Minister of Supply and
Services Canada 1987

ISBN 0-662-15217-4

Symbol of the Government of Canada
back cover

Publisher's Note

In this edition, the imperial measures in the original texts of chapters 1, 2, and 3, except those within quotations or historical passages, have been converted to metric. The following chart summarizes the metric-imperial conversions and the international metric symbols used throughout this publication.

Metric International

1 kilometrekm.6214miles
1 metrem1.094yards

1 centimetrecm.3937inch
1 millimetremm.039inch
1 square kilometrekm2.386square mile
1 hectareha2.471acres
1 cubic metrem31.308cubic yards
1 litreL.2200gallons
1 hectolitrehL21.9969gallons
1 tonnet2000pounds
1 kilogramkg2.205pounds

Photo Credits
Unless otherwise credited, all photographs in this publication are the property of the Parks Photo Library, and the photographers are unknown. The exceptions are as follows: page 5: Elizabeth May, photographer; page 34 (Hot Spring): anonymous photographer, Public Archives Canada/PA-I19439; pages 37, 53, 70 (campers), and 73: W.J. Oliver, photographer; page 131: Jim Shearon, photographer; page 147 (Mount Logan): M. Beedell, photographer; page 147 (Kaskawulsh glacier): P. McCloskey, photographer; page 151 (Dedication ceremony) anonymous photographer, Public Archives Canada/PA-148551; (Casemates): anonymous photographer, Parks Research Division; page 154 (Rideau Canal): Neil Patterson, photographer.

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