Skip to main content

Ottawa pledges more than $140-million to establish first urban national park

A hydro corridor crosses the Little Rouge River which is located in the proposed site of a national park which is currently Rouge Park. Some land will be acquired which will make the park stretch from Lake Ontario up to the town of Markham.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The federal government has committed $143.7-million over 10 years to establish a new national park in the Greater Toronto Area, the first urban park in the country's history.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced long-term funding to develop and run the Rouge National Urban Park during a meeting Friday to discuss plans for the new protected area. After 10 years, the east-end park is to get $7.6-million a year in operating funds.

The proposed boundaries extend from Lake Ontario in the south to the Oak Ridges Moraine in the north, a strip of forest and marshland. It will include land within the existing Rouge Park, plus additional federal lands west of the York-Durham town line.

Story continues below advertisement

It is accessible by public transit and within easy reach of 7 million people. The government is planning public consultations, and aims to create what it calls a "people's park."

The new park was first promised in the Speech from the Throne almost a year ago.

It was also mentioned in the March budget, and although specific funding was not allocated, Parks Canada has been moving forward with it.

The announcement comes as the federal agency is implementing $29-million in budget cuts. Parks Canada is reducing the number of scientists and technical staff who help protect the ecological integrity, or health, of the parks across the country.

This has many experts worried about the future of our national parks.

But Parks Canada is facing another challenge: Attendance is declining, which may have long-term implications for public support. In 1995, 15.3 million Canadians visited a national park, compared to only 12.5 million last year.

The agency is hoping the new park will introduce Canadians to the parks system.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.