Rouge National Urban Park to be Canada’s first national urban park in GTA
Oct. 27, 2017
Global Korean Post
Canada’s first national urban park in the Greater Toronto Area and largest urban park in North America is expecting.
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.
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, in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area.
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 government says that the remaining land transfers with neighbouring jurisdictions are expected to take place in the coming months.
On October 21, 2017, the governments of Canada and Ontario marked the significant milestone with a celebration in the Bob Hunter area of Rouge National Urban Park.
Jane Philpott, former Health Minister and current Minister of Indigenous Services, made the announcement on behalf of Catherine McKenna Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, along with Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Growth, on behalf of Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure. Also, Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education and Gary Anandasangaree, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Rouge Park attended.
Minister Jane Philpott said in a news conference, “We are celebrating today fantastic news…
50 times bigger than High Park in Toronto. It’s a place that people will be coming and enjoying the beauty of lands. Ecological integrity is a very top priority and we delighted to celebrate it today. This national urban park is within 1 hour driving for 7 million Canadians. …It is a challenge to huge opportunity.”
Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, praised Jim Robb’s work highly while delivering his congratulatory remark at the ceremony. Duguid said in an interview with the Global Korean Post that Jim Robb and the group that he worked with have done that for 30 years. “I have been involved with them for 30 years. When we look back in life, the things have been able to achieved. This will be something for those of us to fight almost entire of life for this. …That is something we can very proud of.”
Duguid also said “That’s ongoing effort. Ecological integrity is now number one priority in decisions to make government’s future lands.”
Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham City, said in an interview with the Global Korean Post, “I think, today one organization, Parks Canada mandates to look after all of the lands. It will be better for the park. And now that the ecological criteria have been cooperated into the stretch of the park. That is positive thing. But, I think, also very positive thing is one organization, Parks Canada, they will work with everyone involved to ensure this park is healthy and their different activities, and nature is able to flourish. It’s here for everyone.”
Jim Robb, general manager of friends of the Rouge Watershed (FRW), who has worked for the commitments on Rouge National Park over 30 years.
He delivered the concern at an interview with the Global Korean Post, “I am just one of tens of thousands of people who worked this park over 30 years. To create park that will combat the climate change and will improve water quality in Lake Ontario, we give access to the public.
Right now there is a danger as much as 2/3 of the park that could be long-term private leases. Here we have public land in a national park in Canada’s most dangerous eco zone. It is in danger, 2/3 of lands could tie up private leases instead of being accessible to nature in public. That is our real concern.”
He said that he wants to make sure the immediate action plan designed to protect water quality and fight and combat the climate change that are actually carried out. Community groups, volunteers, many other politicians including Councilor Raymond Cho come out to plant trees in this park, which helps to resolve pollution to provide oxyzen and reduces running out of flooding, but, he says, “We have to do more to help mother nature back on our feet.”
Pamel L. Veinotte, Field Unit Superintendent told the Global Korean Post, the trail started from North and moving down, eventually it will be connected at a certain period as well.
She also added at the question of future plan, saying that “Now, we are growing. Just finishing the land assembly. We will be doing to work on improving summer visitors’ facilities and we are going to have new welcome areas, signage, washroom, trails, in addition that, we will be doing a lot of restoration projects …. There is lots of doing over 5 years.”
When Rouge National Urban Park is completed, 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.
by Jasmine Kang, Global Korean Post
ⓒGlobal Korean Post