Parks Canada carried out a $150,000 survey and found what most people already knew: Canadians enjoy visiting parks.
“Whatever the inspiration for it, enjoyment from the visit was almost universal at 94 percent, with the enjoyment of the natural beauty and scenery topping the list of parks visitors,” according to the report prepared by EKOS Research Associates.
Park visitors also enjoy visiting parks for hiking, climbing, and skiing as well as to visit beaches, the ocean, and waterfalls. Visitors to historic sites like learning about the areas and their historic contributions.
“Most visitors (eight in ten) said their visit resulted in a better understanding of how the site contributed to Canadian history and they learned something about the cultural heritage of the site,” the report noted.
The survey involved phone interviews with 3,000 Canadians who visited a Parks Canada site in summer 2017. There was a higher than usual park attendance last year because fees were dropped to honour Canada’s sesquicentennial.
Canadians offered several reasons for visiting Park Canada locations. The number-one reason was getting together with friends and family. Canadians also visited parks because they fit into the context of a broader trip and because they wanted to see the beauty of nature.
Banff National Park was the most popular destination, and 14 percent of those surveyed visited the area. Other popular parks included Jasper National Park, La Maurice, and Riding Mountain. Favoured historic sites and waterways included the Rideau Canal and Trent Severn Waterway.
Forty-one percent of those surveyed aged 45 to 54 visited a historic site or waterway. Those under age 35 were more likely to have experienced their first visit to the national park or historic site than older visitors.
Twenty-five percent of those surveyed visited a national park for the first time, while 75 percent had been to the location previously and were inclined to return. Eighteen percent had been to the location at least one time prior in 2017, while 23 percent had visited in 2016, and 35 percent had visited several years previously. One in three visited a national historic site or waterway for the first time.
Just five percent of those surveyed called their visits “average,” and only 1 percent claimed they “did not enjoy” their park visits.
Canadians enjoyed their visits so much, two in three “were unable to make suggestions for improvements.” Those who did make suggestions called for continual free admission, better parking and better crowd management as well as improvements related to camping.