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Prime Minister Stephen Harper Announces the Expansion of Canada’s First National Urban Park

Prime Minister Stephen Harper Announces the Expansion of Canada’s First National Urban Park



July 11, 2015                           Pickering, Ontario            Prime Minister’s Office
 
Introduction
 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced a significant expansion of Rouge National Urban Park which is located in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario. He was joined by Members of Parliament from the Durham and Greater Toronto Area.
 
Under the announcement made today, the Government of Canada will more than double its initial contribution by adding an additional 21 square kilometres of new lands to Rouge National Urban Park, featuring a mix of natural, cultural and agricultural lands. This expansion will increase the boundaries of Canada’s first national urban park by over 36 per cent, making it one of the largest urban parks in North America, spanning 79.5 square kilometres once fully established.
 
The new lands, which include forests, meadows, streams, creeks, important archaeological sites and large tracts of farmland, are located in the City of Pickering and the Township of Uxbridge. They will be under the protection of Parks Canada and preserved for the enjoyment of Canadian families and international visitors. The Rouge National Urban Park will be afforded the strongest protections of any urban park in the world, with its very own legislation – the historic Rouge National Urban Park Act – providing multi-million dollar investments to conserve and restore it, and ensure year-round enforcement.
 
The expansion of Rouge National Urban Park was informed by broad consultations with municipal, regional, provincial, Aboriginal and community stakeholders. The urban park will provide real and significant benefits to Canada’s environment, including protecting drinking water, agricultural lands, rare ecosystems such as some of the best remaining examples of Carolinian forests and wetlands in the Greater Toronto Area, and rich biodiversity including over 1,700 species of plants and animals.
 
Since 2006, our Government has focused on real action that is balanced and built on meaningful partnerships with those who share our vision for a healthy environment.
 
Quick Facts
 
  • A national urban park is a new category in the family of Parks Canada’s protected areas alongside national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
  • Rouge National Urban Park’s close proximity to 20 per cent of Canada’s population will create unprecedented opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area for a broad diversity of Canadians to learn about and connect with Canada’s natural, cultural and agricultural heritage, serving as a gateway for discovering Canada’s incredible network of protected heritage areas.
  • The Rouge National Urban Park Act was passed by the House of Commons on January 26, 2015, and by the Senate on April 2, 2015; it received Royal Assent from the Governor General on April 23, 2015. The Act came into force – formally establishing Rouge National Urban Park – via Order-in-Council on May 15, 2015.
  • The Government of Canada announced its intention to create Rouge National Urban Park in the 2011 Speech from the Throne.
  • The addition of 21 km2 (2,104 hectares) of new land will make Rouge National Urban Park one of the largest urban parks of its kind in North America. With the addition of these new lands, a total of 79.5 km(7,956 hectares) of land have been committed to the park – making it 19 times larger than Stanley Park in Vancouver, 22 times larger than Central Park in New York, and close to 50 times larger than Toronto’s High Park.
  • Rouge National Urban Park is home to a unique combination of natural, cultural and agricultural features including: 1,700 species of plants, birds, fish, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians; more than 10,000 years of human history; and large tracts of Class 1 farmland, the rarest, most fertile and endangered in the country.
  • On May 15, 2014, Prime Minister Harper launched the National Conservation Plan, which provides a more coordinated approach to conservation efforts across the country. The Government is further expanding our protected areas and will be taking the final steps to establish Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area – the world’s largest freshwater marine conservation area – and the Qausuittuq National Park on Bathurst Island in Nunavut in the near future.
 
Quotes
 
“Our Government understands that Canada’s natural environment helps shape our national identity and underlies our health and prosperity. That is why I am pleased to announce that with the addition of 21 square kilometres of new land, Rouge National Urban Park will become one of the largest urban green spaces of its kind in North America, benefiting Canadian families and international tourism.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
 
“Today’s announcement will provide families across the Greater Toronto Area and visitors from coast to coast to coast with more opportunities to enjoy Canada’s great outdoors. The expansion of Rouge National Urban Park will also ensure current and future generations of Canadians remain connected with an important part of Canada’s rich natural and cultural heritage.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
 
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