On this date in 1911, Parks Canada—the world’s first national parks service—was established. The federal government of Canada created the new unit to oversee and administer the country’s forest reserves and a nascent assemblage of western national parks. Today, Parks Canada manages 42 National Parks (including seven National Park Reserves), four National Marine Conservation Areas, one National Landmark, and 167 National Historic Sites. Despite several name changes over the course of the last century, this government agency would, as Canadian historian Claire Campbell writes, “convince Canadians that in their national parks resided the true wealth of a kingdom.”
In recognition of the centennial, the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE) sponsored the publication of a new edited collection called A Century of Parks Canada, 1911-2011, which explores episodes of Canada’s national parks history from coast to coast to coast. In a recent episode of the Canadian Environmental History Podcast, editor of A Century of Parks Canada, Claire Campbell, and two of the contributing authors, George Colpitts and Gwynn Langemann, were interviewed. In 1986, FHS co-published Lost Initiatives: Canada’s Forest Industries, Forest Policy and Forest Conservation with Greenwood Press. Co-author Peter Gillis provided a broader context for the agency’s founding in another FHS publication, Origins of the National Forests (1991). Finally, the FHS Issues Series offers an overview of Canada’s Forests by Ken Drushka.