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Parks Canada's new booking system launches; here's what you need to know about it


Prospective campers had their first chance to use Parks Canada’s new booking system on Monday as numerous provincial and national parks opened up their reservation slots for the spring and summer camping season.

The revamped system, which includes a new look but will continue to “offer similar features and functions” aims to solve overbooking and queuing problems that have plagued the agency in the past.

The reservation system went down from Feb. 27 to March 2 as Parks Canada made the transition. Now, users will only be able to book sites if they have registered a new account on the website, which has been possible since March 3.

Starting on March 13, users can reserve camping spots, roofed accommodations and activities at parks across the country. However, there will be a staggered launch, with parks opening up their reservations across the following two weeks on their own individual launch days.

The majority of the locations which opened up to reservations on Monday were B.C. campgrounds and historical sites, including Fort Langley, Glacier National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park, among others. The Kluane National Park and Reserve in Yukon also opened to reservations on Monday.

A full list of the parks and which day they open up to bookings can be found at the bottom of this article.


On the launch day for a location, the entire season will open for reservations, according to Parks Canada. Thirty minutes prior to reservations opening, anyone currently on the website will be directed to a waiting page.

At 8 a.m. local time, the reservations page will open, and those in the waiting room will be randomly assigned a place in a queue, meaning there is no advantage given to those who had the website open longer than others prior to reservations opening.

Users who navigate to the website after 8 a.m. will be placed at the back of the line. An on-screen message will alert users when it is their turn to book a site, and then they are given 30 minutes to navigate and check out with their desired reservations.


An account needs to be made before you can book any sites, and Parks Canada recommends that all aspiring campers create their account in the days leading up to a location’s launch, as opposed to the day of that launch.

Users can create a new account by signing in with their banking partner from a pre-authorized list of banks, or by using GCKey. Full instructions are available on Parks Canada’s website.

It may be difficult to create an account on the day of a location launch, as clicking on ‘Sign In’ prior to reservations opening for that day may redirect you to the waiting room instead of allowing you to create an account right away, Parks Canada warns.


The announcement of the switch to a new booking site came on Jan. 30, along with the official list of reservation launch days for the 2023 camping season in provincial and national parks across Canada.

Reservation launch dates are often posted earlier, making this a later launch than usual.

In response to comments on their social media posts asking why the dates were being revealed so late in the season, Parks Canada explained that the announcement of the launch dates were delayed this year because of the reservation system being updated.

“Like a lot of technology, the platform currently housing our reservation service is becoming out of date. Our service provider is moving the Parks Canada Reservation Service to a more modernized platform to help ensure the continued stability of the service,” Parks Canada told in an emailed statement in February.

The updated booking system will apparently include more measures to cut down on bulk reservations and provide an equitable opportunity to get a spot at popular camping spots.

In previous years, campers have often logged on as soon as reservations opened only to watch campsites be snapped up as heavy traffic slowed the website to a crawl.

When reservations opened for Banff National Park in Alberta in January 2020, so many bookings had overwhelmed the system that several campers reported the system appeared to be charging their credit cards multiple times for one booking.

The new system should not suffer from these issues, according to Parks Canada.

“Parks Canada has been working with its service provider to ensure that our reservation service is configured to accommodate the maximum volume of users,” the agency said.

“Throughout the launch period, a virtual waiting room will be in place to ensure equitable access to the reservation service for everyone. The addition of a virtual waiting room will help maintain optimal performance of the reservation service and mitigate the risks of access by automated programs and bots.”

Another feature to help stop bulk reservations claiming too many spots at once is that users will only be able to place up to five campsites in their shopping cart at a time before they have to checkout.

“Each camper can only be responsible for a single campsite on any calendar date,” Parks Canada added, stressing that it “understands the camping experience is very important for our visitors.”

In a response to a comment on their Facebook post about the reservation dates, Parks Canada stated that while a camper can only be responsible for one site at a time, they can make multiple bookings at the same time for the same night as long as they name different occupants for each site, meaning a person will still be able to book several sites on behalf of friends if planning a trip with a group.

Those who had a previous account on the old system are no longer able to access their past reservations, which were only possible to see prior to Feb. 26., so campers who failed to visit the old website before that date will not be able to recover that data.

The vast majority of reservations will open up between March 13 and March 31.

Reservations for the Lake O’Hara day-use shuttle in Yoho National Park do not open until April 12, and reservations for the shuttle to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in Banff National Park will open the next day.

The popular shuttles will also be seeing an update with the new system.

Parks Canada clarified in a comment on their Facebook post about the reservation dates that “due to the move to a new software system, reservations for the Lake O’Hara day-use shuttle will be using a queuing system, just like camping reservations, to help manage demand and ensure reliability.”


BRITISH COLUMBIA - sites opening between March 13 and March 29

• Fort Langley National Historic Site

• Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site

• Glacier National Park

• Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

• Mount Revelstoke National Park

• Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

• Kootenay National Park

• Yoho National Park

YUKON — site opening March 13

• Kluane National Park and Reserve

QUEBEC — all sites opening March 15

• Forillon National Park

• La Mauricie National Park

• Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve

• Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site

ALBERTA — sites opening between March 16 and March 30

• Jasper National Park

• Banff National Park

• Elk Island National Park

• Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

• Waterton Lakes National Park

• Wood Buffalo National Park

NEW BRUNSWICK — all sites opening March 17

• Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site

• Fundy National Park

• Kouchibouguac National Park

NOVA SCOTIA — sites opening between March 17 and 31

• Grand-Pré National Historic Site

• Cape Breton Highlands National Park

• Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND — site opening March 18

• Prince Edward Island National Park

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR — sites opening between March 18 and March 31

• Terra Nova National Park

• Gros Morne National Park

ONTARIO — all sites opening March 21

• Bruce Peninsula National Park

• Fathom Five National Marine Park

• Georgian Bay Islands National Park

• Point Pelee National Park

• Pukaskwa National Park

• Rideau Canal National Historic Site

• Thousand Islands National Park

• Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

MANITOBA — site opening March 27

• Riding Mountain National Park

SASKATCHEWAN — all sites opening March 28

• Grasslands National Park

• Prince Albert National Park

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES — site opening on March 30

• Wood Buffalo National Park Top Stories

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