Parks Canada Exterior Signage Standards and Guidelines

The fundamental idea behind a corporate identity program is that everything the institution does, everything it owns, every service it provides, should project a clear idea of what the institution and its goals are.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The objective of these standards and guidelines is to outline Parks Canada’s requirements with respect to exterior signage and provide direction to sites on addressing signage requirements. The application of these standards and guidelines will strengthen federal presence and enhance Parks Canada’s identity by enabling Parks Canada to clearly distinguish itself from provincial and other parks and historic sites.

The Parks Canada signage system is designed with the
following goals in mind:

  • to enable visitors, from Canada and around the world, to recognize Parks Canada facilities clearly and instantly by means of a uniform sign system that communicates information effectively and efficiently;
  • to ensure that visitors and park/site users can find, and navigate safely and easily within, Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas;
  • to ensure that signs function within the context of their environment and do not detract from the visitor experience or harm the ecological and commemorative integrity of the parks and sites in which they are situated;
  • to ensure that signage sited within individual national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas is designed to meet the requirements of the visitor;
  • to ensure that Parks Canada’s signage clearly and consistently addresses visitor safety; and
  • realize cost savings through standardization of both design and material and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the design, fabrication, installation and maintenance of Parks Canada’s operational signs.

These standards and guidelines are based on operational, policy and human factors requirements.

Questions or comments regarding these standards and guidelines or requests for more information related to the testing and development of these standards may be addressed by e-mail to the Parks Canada Identity Program Officer at


Review of Sign Guidelines and Manuals within the Canadian Parks Council

The document was completed with support from park staff in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Parks Canada. Other agencies may have additional guidelines but were unable to participate in the scan.

Download Report (English)

The document includes information on the presence or absence of sign guidance, details of guidelines, and contact information. It would be useful for park infrastructure and maintenance, planning, visitor experience, way finding, and management.

From the introduction:

In the interest of creating formal guidance on park signage, Ontario Parks put forward a request for information to Canadian Parks Council members in the summer of 2018. Park agencies were asked whether they had a manual or similar guidance for symbols and sign specifications. Several responses were received and are outlined in the following document.

Responses vary from agency to agency based on their environment, policy and legislation. Please be advised that not all details are provided in this document. One should contact the respective agency to obtain further information.
Ontario Parks would like to thank the park agencies that provided responses to our inquiry. We hope that this information will prove valuable.

Ontario Parks Jurisdictional Scan on Sign Guidelines