On this year of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, all Canadians, young and old, are encouraged to learn something new about Canada’s incredible history. You can’t travel back in time, but you can visit one of our many National Historic Sites or National Parks to learn about Canada’s historic places and events. And this year is the perfect time to experience Canada’s history hands-on as entry to Parks Canada places is free all year.

1. Take a voyageur canoe ride

A view from the side of the canal as the voyageur canoe boat glides along the water with 2 Parks Canada guides and 11 passengers.
Enjoy a Voyageur Canoe Ride in Ottawa.

Where? Rideau Canal National Historic Site in Ontario.

What? Create your team and join us for a Voyageur Canoe Sunset Paddle on the Rideau Canal at Hartwells Locks in Ottawa! What a great way to experience Canada`s National Capital and learn about the history and nature of the Rideau Canal - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. No experience required.

When? June 01, 2017 until August 27, 2017.

2. Nurse Sarah Wade’s medical examination

A few visitors take part in a medical examination by nurse Sarah Wade who is dressed in white.
Visitors taking part in a medical examination by nurse Sarah Wade.

Where? Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site in Quebec.

What? Experience nurse Sarah Wade`s medical examination at this quarantine station and learn about the story of immigrants who suffered human tragedy as they set sail in hopes of a better future and those who cared for them upon their arrival. This unique activity has been recognized as a Canadian Signature Experience by Destination Canada.

When? May 3, 2017 until October 9, 2017.

3. Go behind the scenes with a White Glove Tour

Side view of a visitor up close wearing white gloves holding one of the artifacts which is a very small book with Bell's hand-written notes in it.
A visitor holding one of Bell's treasures as he participates in the White Glove Tour.

Where? Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Nova Scotia.

What? Pull on your white gloves and slip behind the scenes of this national historic site to discover the private life of one of the most influential figures in human history. You will be introduced to the Bell collection and the basics of museum conservation, and invited to scrutinize a selection of Bell artifacts.

When? Offered daily from May 20, 2017 until the end of October 2017.

4. Tour a Haida Gwaii Watchmen Site

Visitors at UNESCO World Heritage Site SGang Gwaay.
Visitors learn about the totem poles at SGang Gwaay from a Haida Gwaii Watchmen.
© Jason Shafto / Full Moon Photo

Where? Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site in British Columbia.

What? Interact with authentic Haida Watchmen and learn first-hand from them about types of totem poles, Haida longhouses or the traditional foods and stories of the Haida people. You will be completely immersed into this 12,000 year old culture.

When? From mid-May until mid-September, 2017, weather permitting.

5. Fire a Cannon or a Musket and have a blast

A visitor, dressed in period soldier costume, stands behind a large cannon igniting it. We see the fire and smoke coming out of the cannon.
Fire a Cannon like a trained cannoneer.

Where? Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site in Nova Scotia.

What? Add an explosive element to your visit – train to be a cannoneer and fire a cannon or sign up with the Compagnies Franches de la Marine to get a soldier’s basic training and fire a musket! Here, you can experience daily life of 18th century Louisbourg hands-on.

When? July 1, 2017 until September 4, 2017.

6. Experience “Nels Knickers

You are looking up at what appears to be  someone ski jumping – flying in the air – however, they are in the in the historic ski jump exhibit. View of Revelstoke below.
Fly without wings by standing in Nels' Knickers in Mount Revelstoke National Park.

Where? Mount Revelstoke National Park in British Columbia.

What? Experience Mount Revelstoke’s historic ski jump from the starting gate. Step into a sculpted pair of Nels’ Knickers, a competitor's bib and jumping skis at the top of the ski jump, modelled after those worn by multiple ski jumping world record-holder, Nels Nelsen.

When? July 1, 2017 until November 30, 2017.

7. Connect with the Anishinaabe Culture

A family of three stand in front of a small teepee showing off the dream catchers they made while visiting the park.
Visitors enjoy a workshop with an Anishinaabe Elder as part of the Anishinaabe Culture Presentation Series.

Where? Pukaskwa National Park in Northern Ontario.

What? Visit the Anishinaabe Camp, participate in a Woodland Art workshop, or join an evening Drumming Social to experience the cultural heritage of the Anishinaabe people.

When? Open from May 1, 2017 until October 9, 2017.

8. The Legend of the Talking Walls

Five young children wearing capes are standing in an entrance of one of the walls of the Quebec fortications – the young girl holding a sword.
Solving the mystery of the Legend of the Talking Wall.

Where? Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site in Quebec City.

What? As soon as classes are done, slip on a cape, raise the banner and head off with the family to discover the fortifications in order to get your hands on the enchanted bracelet or the magic sword. Challenges, games and puzzles highlight your journey.

When? May 20, 2017 until October 9, 2017.

9. Experience the Klondike Gold Rush

Two Parks Canada interpreters and a visitor prepare to enter the historic saloon in Klondike.
A visitor enters the historic saloon to be taken back through time.
Where? Klondike National Historic Sites in Dawson City, Yukon.

What? Meet a character from days gone by as you wander through the epicentre of the last great adventure: the Klondike Gold Rush. Arts, culture, gold mining, history an amazing setting – Klondike has it all.

When? Open from early May 2017 until mid-September, 2017.

10. Be a soldier for a day

Several visitors, dressed in soldier costumes from the 19th Century holding muskets and preparing to fire.
Be a soldier and have some fun!

Where? Halifax Citadel National Historic Site in Nova Scotia.

What? Be part of the 78th Highlanders. This unique experience - part of Destination Canada's Signature Experience – offers an authentic, unforgettable 3-hour long immersion into the life of a 19th century soldier. You can enjoy it on your own, with a friend or as a family.

When? May 7, 2017 until October 31, 2017.