As I am sure you are aware at this point, unless you live under a rock, this year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary. To celebrate there are several events and festivities being planned across the country, but the one that seems to have blown up my social media feeds the most is the 2017 Discovery Pass from Parks Canada.
For those that missed it – to celebrate the anniversary Parks Canada is offering a free pass for admission to the Parks Canada locations from coast to coast. Parks Canada locations include National Parks, National Historic Sites, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Urban Parks. To receive your free pass, you simply have to ‘purchase’ it (for $0) at the Parks Canada Passes and Permits site and it will be sent straight to your door complete with a brochure listing all the locations across the country where it will be valid.
Now there seem to have been some confusion on exactly where this pass can be used. I saw a number of social media rants as people received their passes only to eventually find out through articles that were circulating that it is NOT valid for use in the Provincial Parks, only National Parks.
Let’s clarify something here…. You got the pass for free! You didn’t pay for it, you didn’t have to go drive somewhere to pick it up, you didn’t have to sit through a 3-hour presentation about some ‘gorgeous’ timeshare resort… You just clicked a couple buttons on your computer and it arrived at your door. Even if you don’t get the opportunity to use it, is it really worth a social media rant?
Also – After reading a number of these post of people who are upset, and their summer vacations have been ruined, I couldn’t help but wondering how many even opened the package that it came with? There is a complete map of everywhere it can be used… Its not like the sent it out with no explanation.
Lastly, before I beat this part of today’s blog topic of discussion to death, you have a free pass to some of the most beautiful areas in the country! How is that a bad thing? So maybe you can’t use it for the park you were thinking – this is your chance to branch out and see more of what this AMAZING country we live in has to offer!
My husband and I were VERY quick to make sure we had our pass ordered. We are lucky where we are, down here in Windsor/Essex, to have Point Pelee just a short drive away. As I have referred to in previous blog posts, like Tips for Travelling with your Pups, we travel with our dogs regularly. Some of our favourite vacations include camping and hiking, and the pups love it too! Not only can we travel for a road trip to visit any of the parks on the list, we can take them to Point Pelee for a hike any day we want free of charge!
We have started putting together a bit of a ‘2017 bucket list’ of places that we want to go this year to make the most of the pass. Unfortunately some, that I would LOVE to see, just aren’t going to happen due to timing and distance… its not like Canada is a small country that you can just drive across in a day… but we are definitely going to do our best to make the most of this opportunity!
You may be wondering what is included with your 2017 Discover Pass, and what isn’t. The pass will provide you with free admission to locations managed by Parks Canada, as well as lockage for boaters at the Park’s Canada historic canals and waterways.
The pass DOES NOT cover the costs associated with the following:
- Camping, backcountry and other accommodations
- Canadian Rockies Hot Springs
- Reservation fees
- Guided tours and hikes and programs not usually included with admission
- Some special event fees
- Backcountry overnight use
- Provincial parks or municipal and private parks
- Historic sites not managed by Parks Canada
Here is a complete list of the 46 National Parks in Canada. If you would like to learn more about the other locations included on the pass, I suggest you just go ahead and sign up – you can go through the brochure and learn all your options at that point! Alternatively, you can visit the Parks Canada website for information!
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
For a little added fun – have you heard of the Red Chair Locations? At many of the Parks Canada locations there are red Muskoka chairs for you to relax in and see the view that they offer. Why not start a bucket list to visit each and every Red Chair location? There’s a great way to see what Canada’s National Parks offer!
Have you visited any of the Parks Canada sites? Which are your favourites? Do you have your 2017 Discovery Pass?