A step-by-step newcomer’s guide to exploring Parks Canada sites for free

If you are new to Canada, you can enjoy many fun perks, and one of the best comes from Parks Canada.

Through Canoo, a mobile app that “helps newcomers to Canada and new Canadian citizens experience Canada through the arts, culture, and the outdoors,” you can enjoy visits to national parks at no cost.

To be specific, permanent resident cardholders, citizenship certificate holders, and international students can take advantage of this. You will need your Canadian-issued ID document to make an account, so keep it handy before you sign up.

We’ve created a step-by-step guide for you, listing all the things you’ll need to get to activate a one-year Canoo membership and start planning your adventures.

For this article, we’ll use the example of someone holding a Canadian citizenship certificate.

Download the Canoo app

Head to the App Store or Google Play to download the app on your phone.

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Create an account

You will be asked to enter your email address to create an account. Once you’ve done that, you’ll receive an email with a link to log in.

Do not click on the “login” button in the email from a different device. Go to your phone’s email app or web browser and click on it.

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Submit your status

Next, you’ll see a welcome screen and be directed to pick the category of newcomer you are according to your government-issued ID document.

We chose the “Citizenship Certificate” ID type for verification.

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Scan your ID document

Now, you must allow the app access to your camera and scan the document.

For citizenship certificates, you’ll need to scan the information on the back of your document under oath. This info includes your name, gender, date of birth, effective date of citizenship, and UCI.

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Make sure to scan the document in a well-lit area.

You can also enter the information manually, but verifying it will take a few business days.

Verifying your identity

You’ll be asked to recheck your information. Click on “Yes, this looks correct” if everything checks out. If not, contact app support.

Then, you’ll have to answer a few questions about your country of origin, your time in Canada, the number of children in your house, your preferred language of communication, your postal code, and finally, how you found out about Canoo.

Hit “Submit” after you’re done.

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Activate your membership

You’re not just done yet. An account has been set up for you, but activating your one-year membership is a click away.

The membership begins the moment you click, and you can activate it later if you like.

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You’re in!

Congratulations! You are now a Canooer.

This membership allows you to “over 2,000 of Canada’s coolest natural and cultural experiences,” including Parks Canada sites, museums, and science centres.

Expect great deals from Canadian brands, discounted and free tickets, and other entertainment activities, too.

Explore Parks Canada sites

Use the “Map View” in the app to quickly check out all the places in Canada that you can visit for free. You will see Parks Canada sites on the map, as well.

Alternatively, navigate the places, events, volunteering, and deals menus.

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Check-in at the venue

When you click on a site or experience, you’ll see a yellow “Check-In” button. Clicking it will open your camera, and you’ll be asked to scan a QR code you’ll get when you’re at your destination.

According to the app’s helpdesk, a staff member on-site will give you this QR code or a four-digit venue code.

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Happy adventuring! 🇨🇦 🍁