Our Story

Beginnings of the “Autotourists” Era

 A family enjoying a beautiful summer day at a trailer campground
A family enjoying a beautiful summer day at a trailer campground.
Fundy National Park, New Brunswick.
© Parks Canada. 1952

Henry Ford introduced his mass-produced Model T car in 1908, sparking a new form of tourism. For the first time, national parks that were once reachable only by luxury passenger train were now attracting middle-class Canadians who owned cars.

Parks Canada staff wrote guidebooks promoting scenic drives, and designed roads and campgrounds for the new “autotourists.” The popularity of national parks grew after the Second World War, as more Canadians could afford cars. Campgrounds and highways – many of which were built by war internees, conscientious objectors, and Depression-era relief workers – sprang up to serve them. 

 

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