Park improvement projects
When visiting Rouge National Urban Park, you may encounter one or more on-going projects. To help you plan your visit, please see below for a list of current and upcoming projects. For information call 416-264-2020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the establishment of Rouge National Urban Park, Parks Canada is investing in new, sustainable park amenities and infrastructure as well as improvements to existing infrastructure throughout the park. Infrastructure projects are guided by the Rouge National Urban Park Management Plan (2019), which was developed through over seven years of strong public, Indigenous and community engagement. During the planning process for upcoming projects, we will continue to engage and work closely with local community stakeholders and partners.
Prior to a project proceeding, Parks Canada ensures that each project undergoes a rigorous impact assessment. This assessment considers environmental impacts such as effects on wildlife, species at risk, vegetation and aquatic habitat, as well as impacts on cultural resources. The impact assessment also identifies mitigation measures to reduce any potential impacts of the project.
Below is a list and brief explanation of some of the current improvement projects underway throughout Rouge National Urban Park.
Parks Canada is working towards the creation of a park-wide trail network in Rouge National Urban Park that links Lake Ontario and the Oak Ridges Moraine – a longstanding goal of community partners who have long advocated for a national park in the Rouge Valley and a key aspect of the park’s Management Plan.
This trail network will allow visitors to explore the park’s unique natural, cultural and agricultural landscapes. Trails will support the protection of natural and cultural resources by choosing routes and construction methods that support ecological integrity, protection of cultural heritage and visitor education. For example, most trail building will take place over the late fall and winter to avoid bird migration and nesting seasons, and there will be viewing platforms and interpretive opportunities that allow visitors to experience and learn more about the birds they can see along the trail as the seasons change.
The first new trail in this network opened to the public in September 2019. This five-kilometre trail connects the 19th Avenue and Reesor Road day use areas and weaves through fields of crops, marshland, and shaded woodlots.
New Trails from newly-built Reesor Road Day Use Area
Set to open in 2020, construction has begun on four kilometres of new trails connecting to the Reesor Road Day Use Area. The southwest arm of this new trail will follow the Katabokokonk Creek, while the southeast arm will be the first section of a longer trail through the northeast part of the park. These will be multi-use trails suitable for walking and cycling.
New Trails Connecting Northern End of RNUP
Fifteen kilometres of new trail to connect the Reesor Road Day Use Area to the Coyote Trail at the park’s northern boundary near the Town of Uxbridge is now in advanced planning stages. This will be a multi-use trail suitable for walking and cycling, and will offer a more rugged and dynamic elevation experience. This will be the most northern portion of the park’s trail network and will firmly anchor the park’s connection to the Oak Ridges Moraine.
New Trails Connecting Reesor Road Day Use Area and Bob Hunter Memorial Park
Fifteen kilometres of new trail that will extend the new trail network from the Reesor Road Day Use Area to the existing Bob Hunter Memorial Park trail network in RNUP is now in advanced planning stages. The so-called ‘spine of the park’ trail will be suitable for walking and cycling and, as with all other new park trails, will ensure that accessibility is a top priority.
New Trails in the Southern End of RNUP
Parks Canada is working to connect existing trails in the southern end of the park. New trail connections between the Bob Hunter Memorial Park trails, Woodland Trail and Cedar Trail will be vital links in the park-wide trail network. Parks Canada is also reviewing the existing trail routes around the Twyn Rivers area to help improve visitor safety.
Day Use Areas and Washrooms
The new 19th Avenue and Reesor Road day use areas (also known as picnic areas) opened to the public in September 2019. Each area includes a parking lot, washrooms, connections to the new five-kilometre trail, a bike repair station and a picnic area. Over the next few years, Parks Canada plans to add washrooms and other improvements to several existing day use areas throughout the park, including Bob Hunter Memorial Park, Woodland, Twyn Rivers and the day use area that provides access to the Coyote Trail.
Glen Rouge Campground
Glen Rouge Campground – the only campground in the City of Toronto – is undergoing a number of important infrastructure and visitor experience improvements. This revitalization project includes below ground sewer and water updates, improvements to site planning and accessibility, and visitor experience enhancements. To allow for these improvements, the campground will need to close during the 2020/2021 operating seasons. The revitalized and refurbished campground will reopen to visitors in the spring of 2022.
Planning and community engagement is currently underway for a new 2.5 km boardwalk trail that will provide an in-park connection from Rouge Beach to the Mast Trail and campground. Parks Canada is partnering with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Friends of Rouge National Urban Park and other partners on this important community project, which aims to mitigate the effects of climate change, erosion and flooding, while restoring marshland habitat and improving accessibility and visitor safety. Also planned are improvements to the day use areas at each end of the new trail, including a new washroom facility at the start of the Mast Trail.
Twyn Rivers and Woodland Day Use Areas
As part of Parks Canada’s plans to connect a "spine" trail in Rouge National Urban Park from the northern boundary in the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario, a series of improvements are being proposed for the trail, including new parking and visitor infrastructure, at the park’s Twyn Rivers and Woodland Day Use Areas.
At Twyn Rivers, proposed improvements will correct long-standing issues with visitor safety along Twyn Rivers Road, including an upgraded parking area and permanent washroom facilities.
At the Woodland Day Use Area, a proposed new parking area with a new entrance off Reesor Road will address current parking limitations at this location, including heavy traffic congestions and safety issues near the already busy Steeles Avenue and Reesor Road intersection. In addition to this proposed new parking area, new permanent washrooms and picnic facilities will also be installed.
Visitor Learning and Community Centre
On Aug. 27, 2019, Parks Canada and the Toronto Zoo announced an agreement regarding the location of the future Rouge National Urban Park visitor, learning and community centre. The facility will be built on lands that the Zoo has generously agreed to transfer to Parks Canada that were formerly operated as a naturalized overflow parking lot on the east side of Meadowvale Road.
The facility will serve as the park’s primary learning and orientation facility where visitors, students and residents can gather and learn about the Rouge’s incredible natural, cultural, agricultural and Indigenous heritage, as well as Parks Canada’s network of protected areas from coast to coast to coast. This facility will feature environmentally sustainable design, enhanced accessibility, and significant collaboration with the RNUP First Nations Advisory Circle and community partners like the Friends of Rouge National Urban Park. Currently in the planning stages, the public will have significant opportunities to provide feedback on the building concept and site plan in the coming months and years.
As Parks Canada works towards completing the establishment of Rouge National Urban Park, new Parks Canada signage will be installed throughout the park to identify the park to the community and visitors. This primary signage will be added at all day use areas and trailheads throughout the park, as well as at the future visitor learning and welcome centre.