One of the things I love the most about Canada is the intricate systems of parks we have at our disposal, managed by all different levels of government. From urban parks managed by our cities to recreation sites down logging roads to Provincial Parks and the federal Parks Canada service’s National Parks, there’s no shortage of options of places to explore outside.
In British Columbia, our BC Parks system is over 100 years old and includes over 14 million hectares of parks that are protected and managed by our provincial government for everyone to enjoy. There are 30 of these parks within an hour of our home in downtown Vancouver, and we often find ourselves exploring them. They’re ideal for a wide range of experience levels, often catering to people enjoying camping for the first time; some have showers and most of them are accessible by any vehicle, often at the end of paved roads. The Day Use areas are some of the best around, as they’re often equipped with picnic tables and BBQ pits, all in beautiful nature settings. Adjacent are overnight camping spots, should you want to stay the night.
While there aren’t nearly as many of them, the National Parks in our region are also great for day trips. Luckily for us (“us” being all Canadians), for Canada 150 the federal government is granting free admission to all of the National Parks with their Discovery Pass program. Apply for your free pass and you can enjoy parks as well as National Historic Sites like Fort George near Niagara-on-the-lake and Fort Rodd Hill in Victoria. Check out the full list and a map to plan your trip here.
Coleman’s 10×10 Eaved Canopy has been invaluable to us in the parks this year. In the spring, we used it mostly as a rain shelter to take refuge under when it sprinkled, and as we get further into a tinder-dry Summer it’s been keeping us in the shade as we enjoy our picnics under it. It pops up in a couple minutes and has taken the place of the cumbersome tarp system we used to fumble with. If there’s one thing I dislike, it’s taking a long time to set up. If there are two things, the second is taking a long time to break things down! The Eaved Canopy has eliminated both from my life.
While we’ve been bringing the Canopy and our Sport High Performance Soft Cooler with us on quick trips, not too much else is needed to enjoy our parks. Good shoes for hiking down trails, a butterfly net, and a camera to capture nature are pretty much it.