Are you planning a trip to one of Canada’s 37 national parks or 10 national park reserves this year? If so, you may have already heard that Parks Canada is making significant changes to its online reservation system. While this change is supposed to bring us a better user experience, it will directly impact the booking timeline for 2023.
Travel restrictions during the pandemic caused a surge in bookings for our provincial and national parks. While we were excited to see many people introduced to the world of outdoor travel, the reservation system wasn’t prepared to handle the traffic.
As a result, many prospective campers experienced crashes, glitches, and other difficulties caused by the overloading of online booking sites.
Announcements from Parks Canada shared that the new, revamped system will offer a more modern appearance and functionality. This, combined with staggered booking dates for each of the parks, will help to address many of the issues faced by outdoor travellers.
However, the new booking system will require a new login, meaning that travellers who have previously visited the parks will no longer have access to their past booking details.
To save this information, you must log into your existing account before February 26, 2023.
You can print the information or save it to your computer for future reference. The old system will no longer be accessible after that date.
From February 27 to March 2, the Parks Canada reservation system will be completely unavailable. During this time, they will be carrying out the migration behind the scenes to the new system.
Starting on March 3, the new booking system will be live. All travellers will be required to create a new account for this system. To avoid running into any hiccups during booking, it is recommended that anyone interested in booking for the 2023 camping season takes the time to create their account and familiarize themselves with the platform.
To better control the website’s traffic, Parks Canada has announced staggered launch dates for booking at each location.
All Ontario locations on the Parks Canada booking system will be available Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 8 AM ET.
- 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
In addition to changing the booking system, Parks Canada is also changing some of the rules and regulations for reservations. Most importantly, they will be limiting the number of reservations any individual can make at one time.
This comes in response to 6 travel companies making over 2,300 reservations in a single day. It is believed they were likely leveraging an automated bot to accomplish this.
Each account logged on to the Parks Canada booking system will be able to place a maximum of 5 campsites in their cart at one time. To book more than 5, they will have to go through the checkout process to clear their cart first.
A single account CAN book multiple campsites for the same date, but only if each individual booking lists a different person as the primary camper.
This comes only three years after Ontario Parks overhauled their booking system in 2020. Unfortunately, many campers in the region continue to share their concerns about booking system glitches and the difficulty they face trying to book an Ontario Parks campsite.
While we reserve judgment until the new system has launched, many outdoor travellers fear it isn’t enough to address the booking challenges fully.
Do you believe that overhauling the Parks Canada booking system will improve the booking experience? We’d like to hear your opinion! Let us know your thoughts in the comments.