Story by Tricia Edgar
Vacay.ca Outdoors Columnist
If you’re an app happy explorer, chances are that a trip to the great outdoors will bring with it a nearly insatiable desire to download. It seems strange, but many of Canada’s most beautiful outdoor spaces have wonderful apps that go with them. If you’re heading off to a national or city park, check to see if there’s an app for that.
Learn to Camp With Parks Canada
Ah, the beauty of camping: the trees, the mist rising over the lake, the tent that keeps collapsing. If you’re a novice camper or just new to Canadian camping, this free app is your friendly guide to camping in Canada’s national parks. It outlines what to bring, what to wear, and even what to cook. It also gives you tips on campsites, reservations, and camping etiquette. If you’re really new to the game, you can also sign up for a Learn to Camp experience with Parks Canada.
Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet
Love history? Love food? Oh yes, you’ve come to the right app. The Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet is where Canada’s national parks and historic sites combine to bring new life to delicious eats of the past. Imagine that you’re walking through a historic site and you see one of those kitchen mock-ups. This app, also free, allows you to discover the recipes that were once made in that kitchen. Some of the recipes date back to the 18th century. If you have a hankering for William Lyon Mackenzie King‘s marmalade, you can make that. Yum!
The Canadian Rockies GyPSy Guide
The Rockies are the quintessential Canadian view. If you’d like to stray away from the tours, but you’re not quite sure where you’re going, this app will help lead the way. Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper are beautiful places, with mountain hikes, gorgeous vistas, and colourful glacial lakes. Install this app, and it will give you the tour guide without the tour, tracking where you go and playing commentary as you drive. The GyPSy Guide tours cover Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks. Depending on the route, you could pay up to $4.99 for the download.
Canadian Parks Companion
What’s your park? If it’s Kananaskis, Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay or Waterton Lakes, you’re in luck: you have the Canadian Parks Companion by your side. When mountains surround you, this app will help you identify the peaks. It also features hundreds of photos of points of interest for each area. Check out the artsy art deco-inspired Banff guide. The Canadian Parks Companion apps were created by Dave Birrell, an interpreter who has travelled extensively through these parks. They run between $4.99 to $9.99 per guide.
iParks Explorer in Metro Vancouver
In Vancouver, the regional parks department has become one of the first in Canada to give you a digital guide to the local wilderness. Vancouver’s parks range from mountain vistas to beachside beauty, and this free app will help you navigate 22 of them throughout the Metro Vancouver area. Get information about local facilities and directions to the park. With iParks Explorer, you’ll also find park maps and a schedule of events, so that you can show up just in time for a fabulous guided exploration of one of the city’s regional parks.
Calgary Pathways and Bikeways
Visiting Alberta? If you’re wandering through Calgary, the city recently released a walking and biking guide that will let you move through the city with ease. Explore the local parks scene and bike around using maps of the city’s extensive trails and bike paths. Whether you’re ditching the paper maps or you want a friendly digital interpreter along for the ride, these apps for Canadian parks small and large will help you on your way.