Best National parks in Canada

Yet another best-of list. This time in Explore, June 2007, an opinionated list of the best national parks in the country. The authors created five categories, adventure, scenery, wildlife, natural science, and history. In each of the categories, they listed the top ten parks. Some parks scored high in many of the categories, so I decided to I rank the results and see which were the top parks in Canada. I gave first place got 10 points, second place 9 points, etc. Maximum number of points would be 50 (first place in all five categories).

And the winners are….

  1. Gwaii Haanas 29 points. Top rankings: First place in history, fourth in adventure and scenery. Also got sixth in natural science.
  2. Quttinirpaaq 27. Top rankings: First in wildlife, sixth in scenery, eighth in natural science, and second in history.
  3. Yoho 21. First in Scenery and natural science, tenth in history.
  4. Banff 18. Got rankings in four of five categories.
  5. Gros Morne 16.
  6. Grasslands 14.
  7. Wood Buffalo 11.
  8. Kluane 10.
  9. Jasper 10.
  10. Pacific Rim 10. First in Adventure (because of the West Coast Trail).
  11. Nahanni 9.
  12. Fundy 9.
  13. Torngat Mountains 8.
  14. Auyuittuq 8.
  15. Point Pelee 8.
  16. Kejimkujik 8.
  17. Prince Albert 7.
  18. Aulavik 6.
  19. Fathom Five 6.
  20. Pukaskwa 6.
  21. Bruce Peninsula 6.
  22. Ivvavik 5.
  23. Prince Edward Island 4.
  24. Wapusk 4.
  25. Mingan archipelago 3.
  26. Kootenay 2.
  27. Cape Breton Highlands 2.
  28. Saguenay 2.
  29. Forillon 2.
  30. Kouchibougac 1.

No park got ranked in all five categories, but the winners are clear: Gwaii Haanas (Queen Charlotte Islands, BC) and Quttinirpaaq (northern Ellismere Island) blow the competition out of the water. Both had rankings in four out of five categories. Others don’t even come close. And no wonder, they are supposedly amazing. So they have promptly moved to the top of my places to go in Canada, even beating out the Torngat mountains. Check out this trip by Black Feather into Quttinirpaaq park – where do I sign up?

Great to see that two newer and lesser-known parks came out on top. I suspect that 95% of Canadians has never heard of either of them.

Banff is still close to the top, but again is beaten by its lesser-known neighbour, Yoho. I agree that Yoho has some stunning scenery, and of course the world-famous Burgess shale. At least all provinces are represented in the list, but four are in each BC and Alberta (Wood Buffalo is in Alberta/NWT, but they mention the Athabasca delta, which is in Alberta) – goes to show these provinces have some stunning scenery!


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  1. Nine Biggest “Wow”’s at Parks Canada Sites, 100 Years Later — April 29, 2011 @ 14:00

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