Parks Canada’s official mobile app has all the essentials you’ll need to plan a successful trip.
Language: English / French
Runs offline: partially
Last update: Android 02/10/2017 (v. 2.0.0) – iOS 03/10/2017 (v. 2.0.0)
Website of the developer: Parks Canada
Parks Canada is the official application created to publicize Canadian national parks and other tourist sites of the country. Its objective is to show outstanding natural areas and bring the user closer to the sites included in these three categories:
- National Parks, where some of Canada’s most recognizable scenery can be found, such as Lake Moraine in Banff National Park (see initial image) or Jasper National Park.
- National historic sites, represented by places linked to the heritage and culture of the country and indigenous peoples.
- National marine conservation areas, located in maritime or lake areas.
The application distinguishes four main sections:
- Find a location, which, in addition to locating Canadian national parks on a map, also allows a textual search. It also has filters to delimit the categories and geographical areas of interest (national parks in Ontario, for example). This section includes general information, what you can do in each place and a section to plan your visit. It should also be noted that some natural areas have specific apps that can be downloaded from the links provided in this tab.
- Parks 101, tab that includes a section on scientific projects that are being developed in the different national parks of Canada, tips for planning and enjoying your trip and a list of “hidden gems”, little known places that host, however, a great wealth.
- Events 2017, with a list of the events that are held in the different areas, being able to search by date or category (nature, sports and recreation, food and drink, culture and entertainment, history or overnight).
- My Parks Canada, section from which you can process your Discovery Pass, as well as create personal lists of places and events, photos and packing. It is also worth mentioning that during 2017 the entry has been free to mark the 150th anniversary of the network of parks.
Introducing the Parks Canada App (video, 39 sec)
Images: screenshots 07/11/2017. © Parks Canada
In recent years, nature tourism has become an important economic resource capable of generating wealth at the local level and promoting new businesses linked to adventure activities or wildlife observation, for example. However, in order to provide the visitor with a pleasant experience, it is necessary to provide information about the different sites that can be visited, what are the best dates or what special activities are going to be carried out. Although this is a service that can be delivered through numerous media, mobile applications have become one of the main access tools, taking advantage of the close connection that most people have with their phones.
Looking for examples to follow, the mobile application developed by Parks Canada, the managing body of the parks and historical places of the North American country, can serve as a reference on how to create a useful tool for visitors. In addition to allowing the location of users and seeing the situation of the different places, the app offers first-hand information and directs interested people to specific contents of each of the natural or historical areas. It also includes content of interest related to scientific activities (perhaps in this section it could be give a little more weight to citizen science) and advice and recommendations to enjoy the trip and avoid a negative impact on ecosystems. To also highlight some utilities such as the possibility of creating a list with luggage to be carried depending on the season of the year or the activities to be accomplished. As aspects to improve, it could be interesting to enable a search by cities to locate the closest spaces, thus avoiding having to know the official name of the natural area or region in which it is located.