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Star: Rouge Valley National Park?


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Apr 22, 2007
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National park status sought for Rouge Valley

Apr 03, 2009 04:30 AM

John Spears

A 16,000-hectare national park should be created on Toronto's eastern boundary, stretching from Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine, according to a coalition of politicians and environmentalists.

The proposed Rouge Valley National Park would cover a huge swath of York and Durham Regions and a northeast corner of Toronto, along the Rouge River and its tributaries, according to a plan being unveiled today.

Best of all, says Toronto Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, the park area is already in public hands: it's owned largely by the federal and provincial governments, or held by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

De Baeremaeker, who has long fought to protect the Rouge River, says turning the whole system into a federal park has several benefits.

"By designating it a national park, it's recognized as one of the most ecologically sensitive and important areas in all of Canada," he said. "And once it becomes a national park, it would be virtually impossible for the land to be sold off for development."

Then there's the money:

"We've had a problem with poaching in the Rouge Park, and with illegal dumping. Right now, municipalities don't have the money to properly patrol the park," he said.

"With the federal presence, you would have federal parks staff on the ground protecting the park."

The area teems with wildlife, and First Nations artefacts dating back 10,000 years have been found in the area.

Conservative MP Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills) is also behind the campaign.

Parks Canada has a mandate to protect unique natural areas, says Chong, and the Rouge River system is a prime example of Carolinian forest, a more southerly environment than the boreal forests that stretch across most of Canada.

"This is an opportunity to protect one of the most important biospheres in Canada," Chong said in an interview.

While most national parks exist in remote wilderness areas, the fact that the Rouge sits in the midst of Canada's biggest urban area is a huge benefit, Chong said.

"There are going to be close to 12 million Canadians living in the Greater Golden Horseshoe in 20 years, many of whom are new Canadians, many of whom are lower-income Canadians," he said.

"Having a national park like this next to the greatest urban area in the country provides millions of Canadians access to this treasure."

Chong said he has sketched out the plan to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who is also minister responsible for Greater Toronto, and Environment Minister Jim Prentice, responsible for Parks Canada.

"No commitments were made" said Chong, but the current government has been interested in expanding the parks system.

Pauline Browes, a former Conservative MP, is also supporting the park. Many people have never been to a national park, she said. "This way it's a transit ticket to be able to enjoy this incredible area."
As someone who grew up with several National Parks in close proximity (SE New Brunswick - Fundy, Kouchibouguac, PEI NP), I say bring it! National Parks are a fantastic way to learn about our natural environment and have top notch facilities.
Is there not an entry fee associated with National Parks?
Is there not an entry fee associated with National Parks?

Not for anyone familiar with Rouge Park, if you know what I mean.

Also: Downsview Park? I still don't know what the deal with that place is supposed to be but there sure as hell aren't any entry fees at that place. Couldn't/wouldn't Rouge Park just be a next "urban" NP like Downsview is supposed to be?
News Release

Ontario Completes Land Transfer for Creation of Rouge National Urban Park
October 21, 2017

Province Fulfills Commitment to Protect 1,600 Acres in the Rouge Valley
Ontario has formally transferred more than 1,600 acres of lands to Parks Canada for inclusion in Rouge National Urban Park - the first urban park of its kind in Canada, right in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area.

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, on behalf of Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure, was joined by Jane Philpott, federal Minister of Indigenous Services, at Rouge National Urban Park, today to make the announcement.

The province's lands make up the critical central section of the park, which stretches from Lake Ontario to the Oak Ridges Moraine.

The transfer of lands will allow Parks Canada to complete the park and means people will be able to continue enjoying its many benefits - such as paddling, swimming, hiking, cycling and even camping overnight. Farming will also continue to be an important and protected activity in the park.

Ontario has always fought for ecological protections in the park, and will continue to advocate for any decisions about the park to be made with environmental sustainability at the forefront.

The province has also handed over its interest in lands managed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the City of Markham, ensuring these lands will remain protected for generations to come.

  • When Rouge National Urban Park is complete, it will cover 79.1 square kilometres, making it 23 times bigger than New York’s Central Park and 19 times bigger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
  • The park has 1,700 species of plants and animals, and some of the best wetlands, forests and agricultural lands in the region.
  • It has evidence of human history dating back more than 10,000 years including some of Canada’s oldest known Indigenous historic sites and villages.
^^^ That's going too far. Even a national park is a stretching it. It's mostly just regular rural countryside, and even the valley itself in nowhere near spectacular enough by national park standards. At the end of the day, outside of the actual valley lands, it doesn't even really need to be a designated park at all, just part of the greenbelt. There's a lot of emotion at at play because it was the last undeveloped area in the former Metro.
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