Canada’s first national park
In 1885, the federal government
established 26 km2 of reserved land around the Banff hot springs on
the slopes of Sulphur Mountain. The hot springs were now protected in
the public interest and no longer available for ‘sale, settlement or
|| Dominion Parks Branch - World’s
first national park service
In 1911, the Dominion Forest
Reserves and Parks Act placed the dominion parks under the
administration of the world’s first national parks branch, known
variously over the years as the Dominion Parks Branch, the National
Parks Branch, Parks Canada, Canadian Parks Service and now the Parks
Canada Agency. The same year, James B. Harkin became the first
commissioner of the Dominion Parks Branch.
Canada’s first National
The National Parks Act of 1930
ensured that no new parks could be established or any change made in
the boundaries of existing parks except by an Act of Parliament.
Mineral exploration and development was prohibited and only limited
use of green timber essential for park management purposes was
First comprehensive statement of
national parks policy is tabled in the House of Commons
The 1964 policy established the
preservation of significant natural features in national parks as its
‘most fundamental and important obligation’.
First National Parks System Plan
approved (Concept of natural regions)
In 1970, Parks Canada adopted a natural
region system plan to guide park expansion activities. The government’s
goal is to represent the characteristic physical, biological and
geographic features of each of the 39 natural regions within the
national parks system.
Canada signs World Heritage
Convention; Nahanni National Park designated the world’s first
natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Revised National Parks Policy
introduces ecological integrity as a guiding principle
In 1979, the revised National Parks
Policy established the maintenance of the ecological integrity of
national parks as a prerequisite to use.
Ivvavik National Park: first
national park established under a land claim agreement
Amendments to the National
Parks Act formalizes the principle of ecological integrity
Tabling of the first State of the
Parks Report in Parliament
|| Gwaii Haanas Agreement establishes
the terms of an unprecedented co-management agreement between the
federal government and the Haida Nation
Banff-Bow Valley Study
The Banff Bow Valley Study (launched in
1994, report in 1996) brought the question of human use in Banff
National Park of Canada into clear focus and established ecological
integrity as a first priority. While this study focused on Banff, it
established directions for the entire national park system.
|| Moratorium announced on commercial
development outside of park communities within national parks
||Parks Canada becomes an operating
agency through the proclamation of the Parks Canada Agency Act
|| Three Arctic national parks are
established through the first Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement
under the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement
Panel on the Ecological Integrity
of Canada’s National Parks releases report
The Panel on the Ecological Integrity
of Canada’s National Parks (launched in 1998, report on March 23,
2000) reviewed Parks Canada’s program with a mandate to focus the
national parks program on conserving and restoring ecological
integrity as a first priority. The panel concluded that ‘ecological
integrity in Canada ’s national parks is under threat from many
sources and for many reasons’. This report from the panel was
strongly endorsed by the Minister and followed by a ministerial action
Canada National Parks Act
proclaimed on February 19, 2001
The Canada National Parks Act states
that "maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity,
through the protection of natural resources and natural processes,
shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all
aspects of the management of parks."
The new Act sets new standards for
park management plans with respect to ecological integrity. The
Parks Canada Guide to Management Planning has been revised to
reinforce the primacy of EI and management plans are now being
The new Act requires the legal
designation of wilderness areas in national parks across the
system. Wilderness areas in the Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay
national parks have been declared.
The new Act limits commercial
development in national park communities. The boundaries of all
communities in the national parks will be fixed and commercial
development will be capped in those communities.
Seven new national parks and one
national park reserve were formally established
through the new Act. Five of the new national parks have been
established through agreements with aboriginal peoples.
The Government of Canada announces
its Action Plan to Protect Canada’s Natural Heritage and Funding to
Implement the Plan
The government announces the most
ambitious expansion of national parks and national marine conservation
areas in more than 100 years.
Canada will work to establish 10 new
national parks, increasing the area of lands covered by Canada’s
national parks system by almost 50 per cent.
The Government will also act to restore
the health of Canada’ s national parks. Actions will be taken in the
areas of science, partnerships and education. These measures will
support the return of ecological integrity in all of the country’s
On February 11, 2003, the Minister of
Finance announces, in Federal Budget 2003, the allocation of $74
million over the next two years as an initial investment for the
implementation of the Action Plan.
In March 2003, at the Minister’s
Round Table on Parks Canada, this funding was increased to $144
million extending over five years with an additional $29.2 million in
ongoing funding to operate the new national parks and national marine
conservation areas created under the Action Plan.
Government of Canada Creates New
The federal government signed
agreements to create the first two national parks under the action
plan – an agreement with the Government of British Columbia to
create Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada and an Inuit
Impact and Benefit Agreement with Inuit and the Government of Nunavut
to create Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada, bringing the number of
national parks that have been created since Banff was established in
1885 to 41.
Agreements Signed to Create Torngat
Mountains National Park Reserve
On January 22, 2005, the federal
government signed the Labrador Inuit Park Impacts and Benefits
Agreement with the Labrador Inuit Association, and a Memorandum of
Agreement for a National Park Reserve in the Torngat Mountains with
the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, that will lead to the
formal establishment of Canada’s 42nd national park – the Torngat
Mountains National Park Reserve of Canada – on the effective date of
the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.