Governments of Canada and Ontario Announce Historic Rouge National Urban Park Land Transfer
Ontario Gives Land to Parks Canada for first national park in a city; New App for the Park Launched
October 21, 2017 Toronto, Ontario Parks Canada Agency
The establishment of North America’s largest urban park has taken a giant leap forward. Today, the Government of Ontario transferred and released its interest in 22.8 km2 of lands to Parks Canada to help complete Rouge National Urban Park.
The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville, and Gary Anandasangaree, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Rouge Park, made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, along with the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Growth, on behalf of the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure.
As part of this announcement, Ontario will immediately transfer 6.5 km2 of land, as well as the provincial interest in 15.2 km2 of land managed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), and 1.1 km2 of land managed by the City of Markham.
Parks Canada now directly manages or has an interest in nearly 80% (62.9 km2) of the 79.1 km2 of lands identified for Rouge National Urban Park by all levels of government. The remaining land transfers with neighbouring jurisdictions are expected to take place in the coming months.
The governments of Canada and Ontario marked this significant milestone with a celebration in the Bob Hunter area of Rouge National Urban Park.
In 2017, the Government of Canada passed amendments to the Rouge National Urban Park Act, which prioritizes ecological integrity in the management of the park, while also providing long-term certainty for the park’s farmers, so they can continue carrying out their important agricultural activities. The amendments ensure the Rouge Valley will have the strongest ecological protections in its history, while affirming the role of park farmers so that they can continue to provide food for Canadians as they have been doing for the past two centuries.
The first of its kind in Canada – a national park in a city – Rouge National Urban Park protects nature, culture, and agriculture in an integrated way and stretches across the cities of Toronto, Markham, and Pickering and the Township of Uxbridge, from Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine.
As part of the event, a new Rouge National Urban Park mobile app, created by University of Toronto Scarborough students in partnership with Parks Canada, was launched. Available on iPhone and Android devices, the bilingual app allows visitors to explore the park’s rich natural, cultural, and agricultural heritage through an interactive map and guide, and receive GPS-triggered “fun facts” in real-time while exploring the park. The Rouge app complements the existing Parks Canada national app.
As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn more about our history at Rouge National Urban Park.
“I am pleased that ecological integrity has been identified as the first priority in managing Rouge National Urban Park while providing long-term certainty for the park’s farmers. Today, we are one step closer to a complete Rouge National Urban Park, which stretches from Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine. This major step in conservation is an example of what can be accomplished when governments, Indigenous Peoples, farmers, conservationists, and community leaders and groups work together towards a shared vision.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott,
Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville
“Ontario’s transfer of more than 1,600 acres for the expansion of Rouge National Urban Park permanently protects green space in the Greater Toronto Area. The provincial lands provide a critical link that ensures the park stretches from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario. I can’t think of anything else that I’ve worked on as an elected representative that’s more exciting than this lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren to enjoy for years to come.”
The Honourable Brad Duguid,
Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Growth, and Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough-Centre
“Not only are we celebrating today’s historic land transfer, but I am pleased to announce the launch of the new Rouge National Urban Park app that will inspire people to experience the outdoors and learn more about what makes Rouge National Urban Park one of Canada’s newest national treasures. I applaud the innovation and creativity of the students from the University of Toronto Scarborough, who in partnership with Parks Canada, are helping Canadians connect to the park, which is within a one hour’s drive of 20 per cent of Canada’s population and accessible by public transit.”
Member of Parliament for Scarborough–Rouge Park
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 – 23 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.
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.
Parks Canada’s mobile app helps visitors plan their visit with tips and information on over 200 Parks Canada places and share their experiences on social media using fun and interactive Parks Canada-themed filters and stickers. For visitors to the Rouge, the Rouge app will help them navigate in the park with detailed information on local park trails, flora and fauna, and unique park features.
The Rouge National Urban Park app features include: hiking achievement badges; comprehensive sections about park wildlife, plants, cultural and farming history; a reporting function that allows visitors to report wildlife, trail conditions and their favourite Rouge places to Parks Canada; and a memory game for kids of all ages. Once the app is downloaded, it does not require the use of any data and can be used with full functionality in the park offline.
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Rouge National Urban Park, Parks Canada
Parks Canada Agency
Office of Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Growth
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