To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we asked members of the Blade staff to tell us about their “Great Canadian Brand”. Here’s what Blade’s Office Manager, Nancy McGovern had to say:
What is Your Favourite Canadian Brand?
Canada’s National Parks are treasures that people from all over the world consider the epitome of Natural beauty: large expanses of forests, fresh lakes and rivers and clean air. Many aspire to experience our country through these vast parks, by communing with nature, building campfires and sleeping under the stars, and they are available to everyone: In recent years, some of the nature walks have been renovated into wheelchair accessible trails to encourage even more people to discover the beauty of Canada, and become proud ambassadors of this Canadian brand.
When Did You First Start Following/Adopting Canada’s National Parks into your Lifestyle?
I camped in Algonquin Park as a child and have cherished home movies my dad shot in 1966 of us at the iconic East gate. I’ve camped in Algonquin Park for over 25 years with my own family and friends, and traveled from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island with our kids to discover many other Canadian parks and historical sites.
The National Park’s mandate is to expose the public to the beauty of nature, fresh air and exercise, instill an appreciation of what dangers threaten our natural environment – and give them a break from the concrete and technology of city life.
My kids still remember the family outdoor theatre presentations, which, at the time, were already dated. Instructional films presented by the Park Ranger, like “Bear Scat Through the Seasons” and “History of the Lumberjacks” fueled their imagination and gave them a perspective of life apart from their city culture.
What are the core values of Canada’s National Parks that make you proud to be Canadian?
Teaching the kids how to build a fire safely, cooking in the open air, making your way to the wash station after dark with only the stars to guide your way, learning how to plan to dress appropriately and pack necessary supplies, steep hikes up to awesome lookouts; chance meetings with all sorts of wildlife, from bears to moose, wolves, pre-historic looking snapping turtles, fish and fireflies. The iconic sound of the loon echoing on a misty lake in the middle of the night when you wake and the air is cold and you’re snuggled in your sleeping bag; the distant howl of wolves on crisp late summer nights. The Whiskey Jack (a.k.a. the Grey Jay) has just been named our National Bird: he has been described as “friendly and smart” so Canadian – and his distinctive song can be heard in many of our National Parks.
At what other time might you find yourself keen to perfect your J-stroke, or discover the secret life of moths and bats and fungi, or have an urge to sample dehydrated chilli than when you’re wondering about the Visitor’s Centre gift shop in a National Park?
And travelling through calm waters in a canoe, would you imagine a time in our country’s history when the forests were thick with huge trees and the waterways were the mode of transportation? Who can forget the image of Pierre Trudeau expertly maneuvering his canoe wearing a buckskin jacket? Instant Canadian icon!
Get out this summer and discover one of Canada’s National Parks: