Gateway Gazette

Government of Canada Announces Free Admission to Parks Canada’s Places for Youth 17 and Under Starting in 2018

Waterton Lakes National Park

Parks Canada’s places represent the very best that Canada has to offer, and tell the stories of who we are, including the history, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, along with Parks Canada’s Honourary Guide for Families, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, announced that admission for youth 17 and under is free for all national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas.

By making admission free for youth under 17, Canada is celebrating families and the importance of our protected areas. We understand that by connecting with nature, youth will gain a better understanding of our urgent need to not only protect it, but maintain it for future generations.
In 2017, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the government’s gift to Canadians was free admission to Parks Canada’s places. Starting in 2018, the government is inviting Canadian families and their children, youth, and school groups to experience the outdoors and learn more about our environment and history. Parks Canada will continue to offer high-quality and meaningful experiences to visitors from Canada and around the world and is looking forward to welcoming more youth to Canada’s national treasures.

While youth will enjoy free admission beginning in 2018, Parks Canada’s places, including Waterton Lakes National Park, is returning to fee-based admission for adults and seniors to national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas. Parks Canada is committed to providing high-quality visitor experiences in Waterton Lakes National Park and is working to re-open areas and facilities given the exceptional circumstances resulting from the Kenow wildfire. Please see our website for an updated map and list of what is open and closed. New this year – Parks Canada’s interpreters will be offering programs in Waterton throughout the winter! Learn about the magic of snow and winter survival, show off your skills with our winter challenge, or make some winter-themed art – these family friendly activities and more will be happening every weekend in January.

The 2018 Parks Canada Discovery Pass is now on sale and is a great value, providing access to these national treasures all year long. The Parks Canada Discovery Pass is the ideal way to discover nature and connect with Canada’s history. For information on purchasing the 2018 Parks Canada Discovery Pass, please visit the Parks Canada’s website.

To make the most of your visit, we invite Canadians to plan their trip ahead of time. Please visit the Parks Canada’s website, download the Parks Canada mobile app, and follow us on social media.


“Millions of Canadians celebrated Canada 150 with free admission to Parks Canada’s places. Starting in 2018, I am very pleased to announce free admission for youth 17 and under to all national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas. By encouraging young Canadians to visit these national treasures, we will help inspire the next generation of stewards for Canada’s protected places.”

Catherine McKenna,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts

  • Purchase the Family/Group Discovery Pass before December 31st and save 20%. This is a special way for Parks Canada to recognize the connections that were made during Canada 150. Otherwise, the Discovery Pass is available to purchase throughout 2018 and will be good for 12 months from the month of purchase.
  • Discovery Passes are available online or at Parks Canada’s entry gates and visitor centres. As in the past, our partners will be selling Discovery Passes as of January 2018.
  • Parks Canada’s admission fees for adults and seniors will not increase over 2016 prices.
  • The purchase of a Discovery Pass and all other Parks Canada’s visitor fees contribute to helping protect national parks and historic sites and supporting visitor experiences, visitor services, and conservation activities.
  • Parks Canada will continue to offer free admission to new Canadian citizens for one-year through the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Cultural Access Pass Program.
  • In addition to the Discovery Pass, Waterton Lakes National Park visitors have a variety of other admission options based on daily admission and/or location specific admissions. Please visit the Parks Canada website for details.

Related Links

Source: Parks Canada Agency

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