Parks Summit Blog

We have collected some photos from the Parks Summit for you to enjoy and share. Below is a sneak peek collage, click the button to see the full Google Photo Album. You can also share your photos from the summit to the album!

Special thanks to Paul Eagles from the University of Waterloo for his great camera work.

View full album

The following playlists highlight videos that were shared with summit participants at the Parks For All Canadian Parks Summit. If you are looking for some inspiration, impactful presentation material, or even a brief escape from the daily grind, check out some of these great videos!



Search & Inspire. from Stray Matter on Vimeo.

Watch Vimeo Playlist

Day Two of the parks conference saw delegates roll up their sleeves as they tackled the broader topics of connection and conservation, breaking into a series of smaller working groups to discuss these concepts from various parks perspectives. Rapporteurs audited these conversations, and the information from all sessions will be distilled and shared as an outcome of the Parks Summit.


The 8:80 Principle: Think of an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old. Is your city set up to give them safe engaging access to parks?


Discussions on the topic of the role of parks in forming deeper connections between citizens, people and land/water, and people and other species were enlightened by speakers Gil Penalosa, Director and Chair of the Board at 8-80 Cities and Trevor Hancock, Professor and Senior Scholar, School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria.

While Penalosa spoke of the need, and possibilities, for transformation change in our urban areas, Hancock shared research about the benefits of a strong connection with our environement, arguing that beauty, such as we find in nature, is really a fundamental determinant of health. He also urged attendees to acknowledge and address the inequalities to access facing parts of our populations noting that to ensure connectedness for all we must "preferentially build beautiful spaces in low-income areas".


Nature Needs Half

The rallying cry heard loud and clear on the topic of conservation is that, as our First Nations people have always known and our science also proves true, for a healthy, sustainable planet, we at least need half of our lands and waters protected. The work now, is how to move to that level of conserved land and marine space from the current commitments of 17% conservation committment for wild lands and 10% for water currently being used by policy makers as a first step towards solid conservation efforts. 

As speaker Harvey Locke told the group, the number is possible and it's necessary - but it will not be easy, and parks have a crucial role to play in supporting the Nature Needs Half movement. 

Art at the Summit - Movie Night

Art continued to have a place in fuelling discussion at the summit with the presentation of two thought-provoking films related to the conference themes. 

Elder in the Making

Elder in the Making (Official Trailer) from Chris Hsiung on Vimeo.

On the prairie grasslands of Southern Alberta, a Blackfoot Aboriginal and a Chinese-Canadian rediscover their shared connection to the land and future generations.

Project Wild Thing

PROJECT WILD THING - official trailer from Green Lions on Vimeo.

David Bond is concerned. His kids' waking hours are dominated by a cacophony of marketing, and a screen dependence threatening to turn them into glassy-eyed zombies. Like city kids everywhere, they spend way too much time indoors - not like it was back in his day. He decides it's time to get back to nature - literally. In an attempt to compete with the brands, which take up a third of his daughter's life, Bond appoints himself Marketing Director for Nature. Like any self-respecting salesman, he sets about developing a campaign and a logo. With the help of a number of bemused professionals, he is soon selling Nature to British families. His humorous journey unearths some painful truths about modern family life. His product is free, plentiful and has proven benefits - but is Nature past its sell-by date?

"Our parks have been a part of who we are - Our history, identity and pride"

The first large-scale parks conference in Canada kicked off in Canmore Alberta on April 11, 2016, bringing together parks advocates and professionals from across the country, including representation from all levels of government, parks and recreation associations, parks staff and administration and academics to discuss common issues and hopes affecting the Parks sector in Canada.

Over the next week, 160 delegates will engage in a mix of speaker presentations, information sessions, working group sessions and opportunities for creative dialogue, in order to further the goal of creating a national vision, or framework, for moving the parks agenda forward.

A Warm Welcome

Delegates were welcomed to the summit by Co-Chair, Dawn Carr, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks Council and Murray Kopp, Chair of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association Task Group along with greetings from The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Cameron Westhead, MLA, Mayor of Canmore, John Borrowman, and a special blessing from the Kananaskis First Nation.

Wade Davis

National Geographic Explorer in Residence Wade Davis then took the stage to share with the delegates a reminder of both the beauty and power of Canada's Wilderness and our connection to it. He then spoke of the fragility of this space in the face of economic interests noting that while the world has great capacity for social change, It has also seen entire animal species wiped out in less than a single generation. He challenged delegates to consider why, when we are so tied to the land as Canadians, do we accept that those who have never set foot in our sacred spaces may disturb them for their financial endeavours, and why is time not spent exploring the economic values that could be placed on leaving our wild lands untouched?

Summit Artists

The evening wound up with an introduction to a team of Summit Artists who are joining the discussions with a unique artistic perspective and serve as a reminder of the close ties of art and nature. On site are a visual artist, musician and video artist who will support the proceedings and create new works based on discussions, or, as noted by Artist George Woodhouse; "We are here to put the 'art' in Earth!

Listen Below

Open Spaces and Rolled-Up Sleeves

Finally the process for the days events was laid out and delegates were informed this is not to be a summit of passive listening, but a time for real work and engagement. The vision for Canadian Parks can not be decided by a few, but will be formed by open discourse and discussions, including those at the summit, which are to be captured and shared with the larger parks community.