The public engagement period is now closed.

Thank you for your input! Parks Canada concluded an eight-week long public engagement process in summer 2021 to collect feedback on three schematic design concepts for Rouge National Urban Park’s future visitor, learning and community centre. The comments shared have been invaluable in helping to shape the design of the space and the themes explored at the site.

Read the “What We Heard” report!


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About the public engagement process

Over the course of an eight-week public engagement process in the summer of 2021, over 1,000 community members were engaged to provide input on three preliminary concepts for the building and site. Participants shared their feedback via an online survey, in-person at a series of on-site engagement pop-ups, and during a series of focused workshops or directly to the project email. 

The process aimed to engage a broad spectrum of Rouge National Urban Park users and members of the public in the design of the new visitor, learning, and community centre. It also incorporated a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) that purposefully sought out perspectives on intersectional experiences of gender, sexuality, Indigeneity, neighbouring racialized families and people with disabilities.

Specific objectives were to:
1. Share the process and project already underway
2. Continue to build community capacity and stewardship of the park
3. Collect feedback on the visitor experience (VE) program, landscape and architectural design concepts from key target audiences and future users
4. Ensure the public engagement process is equitable
5. Demonstrate transparency and accountability throughout the project

Preliminary concepts included:

Concept #1 – Solstice courtyard
The movement of the sun and the cycle of the seasons are unifying forces that resonate with peoples across time and space. It is in accordance with these cosmic rotations that we mark time and find our direction.

This design concept is shaped by the solstice itself and by the natural elements the set the pace for how we live.
Concept #2 – Rooftop deck
 Mother earth and the human habitation on her leave traces from which we can learn much about our natural and cultural history.

This design concept is inspired by these traces and their discovery, signifying a growing appreciation for our lands and our cultures. These traces teach us many lessons about how to continually improve our relationships with each other, and with the earth itself.
Concept #3 – Forest passage
The Carrying Place Trail was an overland route connecting Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe, and the upper Great Lakes beyond, connecting people and goods for trade. The Trail represents a cultural trace across the landscape that endured for millennia.

This design concept attempts to restore this connection on the site, re-building this north-south connection. This gesture is meant to explore and restore the severed connections in our collective natural and cultural history, as embodied by the Carrying Place Trail.


Public feedback was collected on the following topics

The architectural design, landscape design, and visitor experiences open for public input include:

Design concepts and aspects of each design concept
Site layout and experiential landscaping components
Site layout and experiential landscaping components
Visitor experiences, activities and amenities


Some things that were not open to public feedback included:


  • The location of the site across from the Toronto Zoo has already been selected after careful research and consultation, although the location of the building on the site is open for feedback. 

Co-created elements with Indigenous Partners

  • The team has been working collaboratively with the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle and is excited to be including Indigenous programs and some interpretive and thematic interests on the site. These aspects are not open to broader public feedback.

Parks Canada directives on accessibility and sustainability

  • Parks Canada’s work is guided by a number of directives to ensure nationwide standards in areas such as accessibility, sustainability and more.

Detailed design

  • Specific building materials and detailed space allocations will be confirmed later in the detailed design process.