Parks Canada’s Gift to the Earth

Our Gift to Canadians and the World

Ukkusiksalik National Park Ukkusiksalik National Park
© Parks Canada

The visionaries of Canada in 1885 had a strong belief that the beauty surrounding the newly discovered hot springs in Banff was so profound that no one person should own it and so they created Canada’s first national park for the enjoyment and benefit of all. The legacy inspired by these visionaries led to a system of national treasured places, including national parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites, a legacy that is shared by Canadians and the world, generation after generation.

Since the initial protection of 26 km2 at Banff National Park in 1885 up until today, Parks Canada’s system of protected natural areas has grown to over 320,000 km2 of protected lands and waters. In the past five years alone, the Government of Canada has added 45,000 km2 to Canada’s system of protected areas. And our efforts continue. In collaboration with partners and Aboriginal groups, Parks Canada is currently working to protect an additional 89,000 km2 of vast boreal forests, clean clear water, rich marine habitats, grasslands and arctic tundra as far as the eye can see.

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
© Parks Canada


Our focus continues to be on providing an environment for nature and wildlife, including species at risk, to thrive, survive and recover. At the same time, these places of wonder create opportunities for humankind to discover the stories of our past, understand our world, and connect to the essence of the Earth.

As Parks Canada embraces the beginning of its second century of passionate work, the whole country celebrates the achievements we have made together as Canadians – highlighted by WWF’s Gift to the Earth award – as the first and finest, national parks service in the world.