Government of Canada Announces Milestone in Completion of Rouge National Urban Park

News Release

Transport Canada transfers 21 km2 of lands to Parks Canada for Rouge National Urban Park


May 15, 2017                                   Ottawa, Ontario                        Parks Canada Agency

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, and Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, announced a significant step towards the completion of Rouge National Urban Park with the transfer of 21 km2 of Transport Canada lands to Parks Canada. With this transfer, Parks Canada now manages more than half of the 79.1 km2 of lands identified for the Rouge.

In 2015, Transport Canada transferred an initial 19.1 km2 of lands to Parks Canada, which were the very first lands for Rouge National Urban Park. Land transfer agreements are in place to acquire lands from the cities of Toronto, Markham, and Pickering, the regional municipalities of York and Durham, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The Government of Ontario has also reaffirmed its commitment to work collaboratively with the Government of Canada on the protection of the Rouge and its commitment to transfer its lands to help complete Canada’s first national urban park.

Bill C-18, which was introduced in the House of Commons in June 2016 and is currently before the Senate, includes amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act that will protect the Rouge’s important ecosystems and heritage, as well as identify ecological integrity as the first priority in the park’s management.

Today’s announcement now means that land assembly for Canada’s first national urban park is nearing completion, fulfilling the dream of a national urban park from Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural areas in the world. Canada’s national parks and national historic sites enable Canadians to experience their rich history and heritage in a special way and will play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.


“The vision for Rouge National Urban Park is bringing together multiple levels of government, Indigenous Peoples, farmers, conservationists, and many other dedicated people and organizations. I’m thrilled our government is taking the next step towards the completion of Rouge National Urban Park with this transfer of lands from Transport Canada. As we celebrate Canada 150, I invite all Canadians to learn about the science, history and natural wonder of our country’s very first national urban park‎.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“Transport Canada is proud to contribute to the expansion of Rouge National Urban Park with a second transfer of lands to Parks Canada. Preserving this important and historic land will allow Canadians and visitors from around the world to experience our unique ecological and agricultural heritage.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Quick Facts

  • Once completed, Rouge National Urban Park will be more than 79 km2 in size, making it one of the world’s largest protected areas in an urban setting – 19 times larger than Stanley Park in Vancouver and 22 times larger than Central Park in New York.

  • Rouge National Urban Park is the first of its kind in Canada – a nationally protected area in an urban setting. Within a one hour’s drive of 20 per cent of Canada’s population and accessible by public transit, the park provides unprecedented opportunities for Canadians to experience protected nature and Canada’s cultural and agricultural heritage.

  • Rouge National Urban Park is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, over 10,000 years of human history and cultural heritage, and some of the rarest and most fertile farmland in Canada.

  • Since the creation of Rouge National Urban Park, Parks Canada has worked with park farmers, Indigenous partners, school groups, and organizations to complete 31 conservation and agricultural enhancements projects in the park, restoring more than 32 hectares of wetland habitat and 20 hectares of forest, planting more than 38,000 native plants, and replanting farm hedgerows with native plants. Over the past three years, Parks Canada has worked with the Toronto Zoo to rear and release 113 threatened baby Blanding’s turtles in the park.

  • In addition to two new welcome areas opened in the Toronto and Markham areas of the park, several education and orientation centres, visitor facilities, interpretive panels, and signage will be added to the national urban park. Parks Canada is also planning to significantly expand the park’s trail network and link up with trails outside the park located in the cities of Toronto, Markham and Pickering, and in the Township of Uxbridge.

  • As part of Canada 150 celebrations, Parks Canada will offer over 300 free public events in the Rouge, including Frog Watch, weekly guided walks, Art in the Park, the Fall Walk Festival, BioBlitz Canada, Learn-to Camp, Taste of the Trail, Landmarks, and many more.

Associated Links


Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

Delphine Denis
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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