20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada currently. There are 9 cultural sites, 10 natural sites, and 1 site that has both. Each UNESCO World Heritage Site is chosen because it adds to a country’s rich natural and cultural heritage. This site in Canada was chosen because it has special value for everyone. This list has all of Canada’s UNESCO sites, along with information about why they’re important and what you should know before going.
Tourist Attractions Canada
I’ve decided to talk to other travel bloggers to find out what they think about other blogs. I wanted to know more about what made their stay so memorable and get some advice from an expert to help us plan our next trip. So, you should now know what to do. Why not visit one or more of these places on your next trip to Canada?
Check out my full list of UNESCO sites in Canada to see which places really speak to you. You will feel yourself, whether you are seeing amazing things in nature or amazing things that people have built. Then you can use them to plan the trip of your life.
Some of the most interesting UNESCO sites in Canada are whale stations in the middle of nowhere, national parks in the mountains, indigenous traditions, and natural wonders. Attractions include the famous Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, the beautiful Historic District of Old Québec, the faraway Wood Buffalo National Park, and the incredible Rideau Canal.
Canada Famous Landmarks
The UNESCO theme of culture and nature runs through these 20 places, which show the amazing human and non-human history of Canada. Some of these spots are well-known all over Canada. But some aren’t as well-known, and only the most determined tourists might know about them. A group called UNESCO works with the UN to protect and share the world’s intellectual and cultural property.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada
Points of Interest in Canada: It picks UNESCO sites based on how important they are to science, history, or culture in general. Because UNESCO sites are important to everyone’s well-being, they are protected by international agreements. Tourists who go to UNESCO sites can go to strange places. So, they help protect them and learn about the history of Earth and people.
They see some of the most beautiful places on Earth at the same time. Some, like the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef, are known all over the world. But there are still a lot of UNESCO sites that aren’t as well known but should be on anyone’s “off-the-beaten-path” bucket list.
The US and Canada are both a part of Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. In 1931, the Rotary Clubs of Alberta and Montana came up with a plan to combine a part of Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park to make the world’s first international peace park.
The goal is to help people from different countries get along and work together to protect the environment. Its landscape is complicated and ecologically diverse. In the north and south, there are mountain ranges, and in the east, there are prairies. There are a lot of wildlife and wildflowers in the middle. Go for a walk, ride a bike, or paddle a kayak to see the sights. You might even see a group of elk that are moving.
Alberta is home to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Native people of North America’s Great Plains have used bison for more than 6,000 years as food, clothing, shelter, tools, and fire. The bison would be pushed into lanes that ended at a cliff, making the herds rush over the edge. The best place to see this kind of group hunting is at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, which is near where the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains meet.
Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek is an impressive international park system that stretches across the Yukon, British Columbia, and Alaska. It has the highest peaks on the continent and the world’s biggest icefield that is not in the polar regions.
Grizzly bears, caribou, and Dall sheep live on more than 200 mountains, ice fields, and glaciers. The tallest mountain in Canada is Mount Logan, which is in Kluane National Park. Mount Fairweather is in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in British Columbia. Both of these places are great for rock climbers.
Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park is in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. It is the largest national park in Canada and covers 44,807 square kilometers of northern boreal plains, is a great place to start a cross-country trip. It was made in 1922 to protect the last herds of wood bison in North America.
Wood bison are a threatened species. It is where Alberta and the Northwest Territories meet. This park is home to many different kinds of animals, such as the endangered whooping crane, whose special place to raise its young kept it from going extinct. This is the best place to see the stars because it is the largest dark sky preserve in the world.
Nahanni National Park Reserve
Nahanni National Park Reserve, or Nah Dehé in the Dene language, has a lot of beautiful natural sights to see. It has a varied landscape with granite spires, deep canyons, and the South Nahanni River, which flows into Nálcho (Virginia Falls), which is twice as tall as Niagara Falls. It was one of the first dozen natural heritage sites to be put on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.
The Galapagos Islands and Yellowstone National Park were also on that list at the time. The Dehcho First Nations, whose ancestors have lived in this area for hundreds of years, help run the park. Whether you’re paddling through the rapids or climbing to the top of a mountain, it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
SGang Gwaay Llnagaay or “Nan Sdins” is in British Columbia. SGang Gwaay is in the south-west corner of Gwaii Hannas. It is also called “Anthony Island.” Anthony Island is home to the village of SGang Gwaay Llnagaay, which is also called “Nan Sdins.” It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it protects Haida culture.
The village was inhabited until about 1880, and the cedar long houses, carved tombs, and memorial poles that are still there are reminders of Haida art and oral history. Many of the Haida’s ancestors are buried there, so they still think of it as a spiritual place.
Alberta is home to Dinosaur Provincial Park. We are actually in Jurassic Park. Like its name says, it is a great place to see how people used to live. The site is 26 km long and is in the badlands of Alberta. It is one of the best places in the world to find fossils of dinosaurs.
More than 44 different species from more than 75 million years ago have been found there. So far, 150 complete skeletons have been found, and they are now in museums. To get the most out of your trip, make sure to buy tickets ahead of time for interpretive programs like guided hikes and bus tours.
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are in British Columbia and Alberta. If you want to see something really cool while traveling, you won’t find a better view. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has seven national and provincial parks. These beautiful mountain parks, like Banff, Jasper, and Mount Assiniboine, are in areas with glaciers, alpine meadows, and limestone caves. The Burgess Shale Fossil Site is also there. It is one of the most important places in the world to look for fossils. Because it has kept animal life so well as it has changed over 500 million years.
Ontario has the Rideau Canal. After the War of 1812, it was first thought of as a way for the military to get supplies. It is not only an amazing feat of engineering, but it is also the oldest canal in North America that has always been used.
Thousands of Irish immigrants, French Canadians, and Scottish stonemasons and laborers worked together to build it. It started running in 1832, and it is the only canal from that time that still goes the same way it did when it first started. From Kingston to Ottawa, a distance of 202 kilometers, there are 24 lockstations where you can see this amazing feat today.
In the Historic District of Old Quebec, you can go back in time more than 400 years. The historic center of Quebec City, which is the only fortified city north of Mexico, is a great example of a colonial town. It was the capital of both New France and the new British Colony.
Nearly half of the buildings were built before 1850, so it’s easy to get lost while walking along the cobblestone streets and looking at the buildings. When you’re done learning about the past, take a walk down Petit-Champlain, one of the oldest shopping streets in North America.
Miguasha National Park
Explore Miguasha National Park in the southeast of Quebec to see what the “Age of Fishes,” or the Devonian Period, looked like 370 million years ago. Back then, the coast of the Gaspé Peninsula was a tropical paradise full of fish and plants of all kinds. Today, it is known for its perfectly preserved fish fossils, like the Eusthenopteron foordi, whose limb-like fins and breathing system led to the first four-legged, air-breathing land vertebrates.
Joggins Fossil Cliffs
Joggins Fossil Cliffs, also known as the “coal age Galapagos,” has the most complete and easily accessible fossils of plants and animals from the Pennsylvanian (or Carboniferous) period, which was about 300 million years ago. These fossils include the first reptiles.
Due to the constant erosion caused by the Bay of Fundy tides, new fossils are always being found. People walking along the beach may even find a fossil that has fallen to the ground. Stop by the Joggins Fossil Center to learn more about the area’s geological history and to sign up for a guided beach tour.
This 13-square-kilometer site isn’t as big as the other parks on this list, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in historical importance. The Landscape of Grande Pré is in Nova Scotia’s beautiful Annapolis Valley, in the Minas Basin of the Bay of Fundy.
It looks like it was frozen in time in the 1680s. During that time, the Acadians settled in this area and used a system of dykes and drainage networks to make farming possible. It is also a memorial to the Grand Dérangement, which was when the Acadian people were forced to leave the area. Tip: To see a wide view, go to View Park on Old Post Road.
You may have seen the colorful wooden houses of Lunenburg on a postcard before, but this historic site is more than just a pretty view. Old Town Lunenburg is the best example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. It was built in 1753 on the southwest coast of Nova Scotia. The “model town” plan divided the land into lots using only straight streets.
This is what makes it stand out, but it has also made some routes very steep. (If you’re going on a walking tour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be ready to work up a sweat.) Seventy percent of the town’s 400 big buildings were built between the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the seaside town is a busy tourist spot with restaurants, breweries, and artisan shops, as well as a beautiful view of the water.
Go to the rocky coastal cliffs on the southeastern tip of Newfoundland to see how life on Earth has changed over time. There are more than 10,000 fossil impressions from the Ediacaran Period in the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve (580 to 560 million years ago).
The fossils, which range in size from a few centimeters to almost two meters, make the site one of the best places to study evolution because it has so many different kinds of fossils. If you want to get a better look, you’ll need to plan ahead. The only way to see the fossils is to sign up for a guided tour.
Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park is one of Canada’s most beautiful natural places, thanks to its tall cliffs and freshwater fjords. But it is not a World Heritage site just because it is beautiful. One of the best examples of plate tectonics in the world is in the park.
Plate tectonics is the scientific theory that continent-sized pieces of the Earth’s crust have collided and moved apart over time, making mountains and oceans. Get a map of the Tablelands so you can plan a hike on one of the many trail routes. Each lookout has a different view.
L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site
Norse expeditions sailed from Greenland to the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula and built a small camp of wood-and-sod buildings there more than a thousand years ago. Their landing at L’Anse aux Meadows is the first proof that Europeans came to North America and lived there.
Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine Ingstad, two well-known Norwegian archeologists, followed Viking sagas written in Icelandic manuscripts from the Middle Ages to find the ruins in 1960. Later, when the site was dug up, the remains of eight buildings and hundreds of iron, bronze, and bone objects were found. Today, people dressed up as Vikings are there to give tours of the re-created base camp and show visitors how Vikings lived.
Red Bay Basque Whaling Station
Around the middle of the 16th century, thousands of Basque whalers traveled from France and Spain to the eastern coast of Canada to hunt North Atlantic and Greenland Right Whales. At this time, whale oil was a very valuable item in Europe. It was used to light lamps, lubricate leather, and make soaps and paints.
On-site, the blubber would be turned into oil. The oil would then be put into containers for transport and taken across the North Atlantic Ocean to be sold. The Red Bay Whaling Station is one of the best-preserved examples of early industrial-scale whaling. Its archeological remains include more than a dozen shore stations (copper cauldrons over fire pits where the fat was extracted) and vessels.
Alberta is where “Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi” is. There are thousands of petroglyphs and pictographs at this sacred site on the northern edge of the Great Plains. This makes it one of the best places in North America to see Native American rock art. Petroglyphs are carvings in rocks, especially ones from the past. An old picture of the Great Goddess is a pictograph. The Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Nation) and other passing groups painted and carved stories about their lives, ceremonies, and spiritual beliefs on the sandstone cliffs and ravines of the Milk River Valley.
This place is in both Ontario and Manitoba. Anishinaabemowin is an Ojibwe word that means “the land that gives life.” Pimachiowin Aki is Canada’s first and only World Heritage Site with more than one type of site. This means that both the natural and cultural aspects of the site are important. It is the largest protected area in the North American boreal shield.
It is made up of the traditional lands of four Anishinaabeg communities, who have taken care of them for more than 7,000 years. Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan, which means “keeping the land,” has been done for thousands of years to protect the land’s rivers, lakes, and wetlands. This is how the Anishinaabeg treat the land, which includes things like spiritual ceremonies and burning the plants along the shoreline in a controlled way.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites Canada
- Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (1981)
- Historic District of Old Québec (1985)
- L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site (1978)
- Landscape of Grand Pré (2012)
- Old Town Lunenburg (1995)
- Red Bay Basque Whaling Station (2013)
- Rideau Canal (2007)
- SGang Gwaay (1981)
- Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi (2019)
- Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (1984,1990)
- Dinosaur Provincial Park (1979)
- Gros Morne National Park (1987)
- Joggins Fossil Cliffs (2008)
- Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek (1979,1992, 1994)
- Miguasha National Park (1999)
- Mistaken Point (2016)
- Nahanni National Park (1978)
- Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (1995)
- Wood Buffalo National Park (1983)
- Pimachiowin Aki (2018)