8 Priceless National Parks

It's impossible to put a value on these amazing destinations. These beautiful oases have helped define a country and will continue to shape its future.

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, Quebec

This little-visited region of Quebec, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence where it nears the sea, is home to a string of more than a thousand grey limestone islands and islets—stone monoliths rising from the water. These 450-million-year-old rocks today welcome all kinds of birdlife, the most colourful being the Atlantic puffin. Away from the shoreline, the park offers peat bogs, salt marshes, boreal forests, and barrens filled with low-lying vegetation that has adapted to the harsh climate of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.

Eco Fact: Two botanists described most of the flora in the archipelago in the 1920s and cite the Mingan Thistle (Cirsium scariosum), a species at risk, as their most “spectacular discovery.” Parks Canada currently has a monitoring and re-establishment program for the plant.

Photo: istockphoto.com/Pierdelune