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Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and partner Municipalities’ Lands Recognized Federally as Protected Areas

Media Release

Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto © Neal Jennings CC BY-SA 2.0

April 11, 2022 – Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, City of Toronto, Town of Ajax, and Ontario Nature are pleased to announce that 950 hectares of lands within these municipalities now qualify as Protected Areas in contributing to Canada’s target to protect 25 percent of lands and waters by 2025.

These sites are jointly managed by TRCA and the partner municipalities as part of a broader natural heritage system that ensures long-term resilience of these areas along with overall ecosystem health and community well-being.

Recently, municipal and conservation authority-managed lands across southern Ontario were added to the Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database, based on assessments conducted by Ontario Nature, with technical support from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

This emphasizes the importance of biodiversity conservation in urban and near urban areas and recognizes their contribution towards achieving the national and global measures to minimise biodiversity loss.

In Toronto, ten city parks totaling 888 hectares have been designated as Protected Areas. The City’s recent investments into comprehensive ravine, parkland, and biodiversity  strategies ensure greenspaces are cared for among the urban environment.

In Ajax, 62 hectares of the Carruthers Creek wetland complex has been designated as a Protected Area. The Town manages an interconnected system of greenspace, watersheds and Lake Ontario Waterfront that help clean our air and water, prevent flooding and erosion, reduce greenhouse gases, and provide habitat to plants, birds, and animals.

These are among the first municipal conservation lands confirmed to be managed to the national standards for protected and conserved areas, contributing to the 10.7 per cent of Ontario that is permanently conserved.


“We are pleased that 11 sites owned and/or managed by TRCA are being recognized as protected areas for their contribution towards the federal targets for biodiversity conservation. TRCA and our partner municipalities continue to invest in natural heritage conservation, including biodiversity protection, ecosystem restoration, ecological monitoring, land securement and management, for the health and safety of residents, and to protect property and public infrastructure within our jurisdiction. This adds to the two sites that were recognized in earlier years.”
— John MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer of TRCA

“I am proud that these 10 Toronto sites have been designated as protected areas. Through the Biodiversity Strategy, Ravine Strategy and Strategic Forest Management Plan, our City has consistently shown its commitment to protecting natural areas and supporting conservation efforts. While this is part of an international initiative, we are showing that efforts at the municipal level can make an important contribution to a larger natural system.”
— Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto

“Carruthers Creek is a small and sensitive watershed that Ajax Council has been continuously advocating for the protection of for many years. I am proud that the Carruthers Creek wetland complex (south of Bayly Street) is one of the first municipal conservation lands confirmed to meet national standards for protected and conserved areas. On behalf of Council thank you to TRCA and Ontario Nature for their support to ensure the protection of the ongoing health and vitality of the Carruthers Creek, and to protect residents of south Ajax from increased flooding and erosion.”
— Mayor Shaun Collier, Town of Ajax

“Ontario Nature congratulates TRCA, City of Toronto, and Town of Ajax on this significant achievement. Their strong policies and approaches to managing natural heritage ensure that biodiversity is protected for current and future generations.”
— Caroline Schultz, Executive Director at Ontario Nature

“Our government is proud to support partners like Ontario Nature, conservation authorities, and municipalities towards our shared goal of conserving and expanding more natural areas. Protecting more green spaces, especially across urban areas, helps build climate change resiliency and flood protection for local communities as well as maintain habitats for a variety of species. This is a great example of how partnerships across governments are working to protect and conserve our environment for all to enjoy today and for generations to come.”
— David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks


About Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
With more than 60 years of experience, TRCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario, created to safeguard and enhance the health and well-being of watershed communities through the protection and restoration of the natural environment and the ecological services the environment provides. More than five million people live within TRCA-managed watersheds, and many others work in and visit destinations across the jurisdiction. These nine watersheds, plus their collective Lake Ontario waterfront shorelines, span six upper-tier and 15 lower-tier municipalities. Some of Canada’s largest and fastest growing municipalities, including Toronto, Markham and Vaughan, are located entirely within TRCA’s jurisdiction. To learn more about TRCA, visit trca.ca.

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. A charitable organization, Ontario Nature represents more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 155 member groups across Ontario. Since it was established as the Federation of Ontario Naturalists in 1931, Ontario Nature has been a champion for nature. Our vision is simple: An Ontario where nature inspires and sustains us for generations to come.

Media Contacts

Diana Ginsberg Cohen
Communications and Media Relations Specialist
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
(647) 271-9894

Media Relations
City of Toronto

Devon Jarvis
Interim Supervisor of Corporate Communications Town of Ajax
(905) 409-1491

John Hassell
Director of Communications and Engagement Ontario Nature
(416) 786-2171