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Media Statement: Rouge National Urban Park Land Transfer

Rouge River © David Coulson

Statement by Environmental Defence’s Tim Gray and Ontario Nature’s Anne Bell on the upcoming announcement finalizing the Rouge National Urban Park land transfer

Toronto, Ont. – This Saturday, October 21, the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario are scheduled to announce the official land transfer of Ontario’s Rouge Park lands to Parks Canada and the federal government. The announcement will take place in Markham, Ontario at Bob Hunter Memorial Park.

Environmental Defence and Ontario Nature are pleased to see the governments of Canada and Ontario working together to finalize and announce the agreement which transfers public land from the province to the federal government and completes the establishment of Canada’s first urban national park.

Over the past year, the two levels of government and many interested stakeholders have worked to amend the original Rouge National Park legislation to prioritise the importance of ecological integrity, and ensure a place for farming within the park going forward. Located in the heart of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Rouge watershed is one of the region’s most ecologically significant and sensitive areas, still connected to its source waters, which originate in the Oak Ridge’s Moraine and flow south to Lake Ontario.

The critical next step for the federal government and Parks Canada will be to update and adopt a strong management plan which builds upon the pre-existing plans including the Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan as well as the Watershed and Great Lakes Remedial Action Plans. Environmental Defence and Ontario Nature look forward to working with the government to ensure the new management plan will mean the watershed is protected for generations to come, and will continue to be a place where nature thrives for all to enjoy.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

ONTARIO NATURE ( Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. We represent over 150 member groups and over 30,000 members and supporters across Ontario.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

  • Stephanie Kohls, Director of Communications, Environmental Defence,, 416-323-9521 ext. 232 (work), 416-885-7847 (cell)
  • John Hassell, Director of Communications and Engagement, Ontario Nature,, 416-444-8419 ext. 269 (work), 416-786-2171 (cell)