Government of Canada Announces Transfer of First Lands for Rouge National Urban Park!

Agricultural lands at Rouge National Urban Park
© Parks Canada. Scott Munn
Canada’s first national urban park one step closer to becoming reality

On April 1, 2015, the Government of Canada announced the official transfer of 4,722 acres (19.1 km2) of Transport Canada lands to Parks Canada – the very first lands to make up Rouge National Urban Park in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

These newly-transferred lands, located in the north end of the future park west of the York-Durham line, are primarily Class 1 farmland – the rarest, most fertile and most endangered farmland in the country. Promoting a vibrant farming community is one of the primary reasons for establishing the national urban park, along with protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the Rouge and connecting Canadians with their nationally protected heritage areas. Under Parks Canada’s care, these lands will be protected forever and will receive the strongest ever protections in their history.

This is the first land transfer as a result of the agreements Parks Canada has signed with various landowners for the creation of Rouge National Urban Park. Additional binding land transfer agreements are in place with the Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority, the Province of Ontario, the cities of Toronto, Markham and Pickering, and the Regional Municipalities of York and Durham.

Rouge National Urban Park is envisioned to be a place where nature, agriculture and cultural heritage can all be protected and experienced by Canadians. In collaboration with local farmers and conservation groups, Parks Canada will immediately begin restoring these lands to enhance the health of the park’s ecosystems, control invasive species and help recover endangered species. Parks Canada will also begin building trails to connect these lands to the rest of the Rouge trail system.

Situated in close proximity to 20 percent of Canada’s population, Rouge National Urban Park provides unprecedented opportunities for a broad diversity of Canadians to learn about and connect with the park’s natural, cultural and agricultural heritage, and serves as a gateway for discovering Canada’s incredible network of protected areas.