Published on October 09, 2013
Grey Owl’s cabin is one of the interesting sights to visit at the Prince Albert National Park.
Published on October 09, 2013
Polar bears are the main attraction in Churchill, where about a thousand of the animals gather each year.
Photograph by Michio Hoshino/Minden Pictures/Corbis
It is a vacation spot known by most in the province, but Prince Albert National Park is about to get a lot more attention.
The national park, known for not only the beautiful but also the large amount of outdoor activities people can do while there, has been featured in National Geographic Travel’s Canada’s 50 Places of a Lifetime.
“To see our country displayed like that in probably the most extensive coverage ever online of Canada, it is pretty special,” Will Harding of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) said.
CTC has been working with National Geographic for years, he said, because both brands are focused on the same target -- travellers.
“We are obviously targeting the same type of traveller -- travellers who are looking for extraordinary experiences around the world,” Harding said. “Canada just happens to have some of the most incredible experiences in the world.”
The partnership CTC has with National Geographic is unique and innovative, Harding said.
“We have partnered with them to get the best advertising opportunities that we can through National Geographic,” Harding said. “At the same time, they have committed to focusing on Canada, coast to coast. That combination of promotion and editorial content is very rare in the publishing world.”
Harding said they hope to take the content and use it around the world to market Canada as an amazing tourist location.
“We are going to take this content, these 50 great destinations across Canada and we are going to promote that in all the markets we do business so international travellers are going to feel really emotionally drawn to Canada from reading this great content,” Harding said.
On the National Geographic side, the leader of the campaign was Keith Bellows, a Canadian with great love and knowledge of the country from coast to coast, Harding said.
“You would be hard pressed to find anybody who has his knowledge of this country coast to coast,” Harding said. “He really put the challenge out to his own team, his journalist and photographers, to find some of the usual places in Canada that we know and love and provide a different perspective on those places but also to uncover some of the places in Canada that receive less attention but are no less spectacular.”
Harding said Prince Albert National Park is one of the places the journalists uncovered in their investigation.
“Prince Albert National Park is certainly one of those gems in Saskatchewan that international customers are very interested in visiting and Canadians themselves,” Harding said.
The staff at the park were very excited about being featured in the 50 Places of a Lifetime.
“National Geographic Travel of course is probably one of the world’s most prestigious travel magazines and most widely read,” external relations manager Pat Dunn said. “For them to recognize Prince Albert National Park as one of the 50 places of a lifetime in Canada is great for us.”
“We knew it all along, of course, but it is nice to hear National Geographic agrees with us,” she joked.
Being featured in an internationally known magazine may attract more people to the park, she noted.
“Currently, many of the visitors that come to Prince Albert National Park are from Western Canada, largely from Saskatchewan, so potentially this will give us more (exposure) and people more widely will visit,” Dunn said. “I think the other thing is lots of Canadians and lots of the people who are already visiting the park will see the coverage and it is nice to feel part of something pretty big and recognized by such an authority as National Geographic Travel as being one of the greatest places to visit in Canada.”
The project is being rolled out throughout the month of October, Dunn said, and it has been exciting to learn about the 50 places with the rest of the country.
“We learned about it at about the same time as most of the rest of Canada did,” Dunn said. “Of course we were really delighted … New photos are coming out, new stories are coming out throughout the month of October.”
“It was a surprise to us to hear the designation and to hear this commemoration,” Dunn added. “I hope it will bring a few more visitors our way to discover all the great things there are to do here.”
Not only is the park picturesque, Harding said, there are also numerous activities such as horseback riding, canoeing, boating, fishing, scenic driving tours and interpretive programs.
“These are some of the best in the world,” Harding said. “International visitors who come to parks like Prince Albert, and the other parks Canada has to offer, really leave with an incredible impression of what we have, are really not shy about talking up Canada to their friends and family when they get home.”
There is also an opportunity for Canadians to get involved, Harding said.
“We are really encouraging your local readers and Canadians across the country to check out the content on National Geographic’s website,” Harding said. “There is also a great opportunity for Canadians to get involved using social media.”
“We want Canadians who are comfortable with Twitter to use the #Canada50 to let us know what their favourite spots in Canada are and start engaging in the conversation,” Harding said. “They can talk a little bit about their favourite places and what do the featured places mean to them.”
Some of the other places featured in Canada’s 50 Places of a Lifetime are Churchill, Lake Winnipeg, Saskatoon, the Canadian Badlands, Cape Breton and the Thompson Okanagan. For the National Geographic article with the full list, visit nationalgeographic.com/canada50.