Rouge National Urban Park

Another Historic Year for Rouge National Urban Park!


In 2018, Rouge National Urban Park moved closer to completion with two more transfers of land – one from the City of Pickering and another from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).

  • May 4, 2018 – The City of Pickering transferred 10 parcels of land totalling 8.22 hectares (20.3 acres) to Parks Canada for Rouge National Urban Park.

  • November 1, 2018 – TRCA transferred more than 190 hectares (470 acres) of land in Bob Hunter Memorial Park to Parks Canada to help complete the park.


Parks Canada also added some exciting new offerings for visitors to the Rouge in 2018:

  • In September, the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle and Parks Canada partnered to host the park’s inaugural “Earth Run in the Rouge and Indigenous Arts Celebration.”

  • In October, one year after a successful launch of “The Rouge” app in English and French, a Simplified Chinese version of the app was released to celebrate the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism. The app is available to download on iOS and Android devices.

  • In 2018, new park signs were installed at trailheads, throughout the park and on local highways.


More to Come in 2019

As the park continues to grow, look forward to more things to come in 2019:

  • The restoration of an additional 10 hectares of wildlife habitat throughout the park to support the recovery of species-at-risk in Rouge National Urban Park.

  • The opening of a brand new 19th Avenue welcome area in Markham south of Whitechurch-Stouffville, and the unveiling of major improvements to the Reesor day-use area in spring/summer 2019.

  • A new 4.3 km trail between the 19th Avenue welcome area and the Reesor day-use area in Markham.

  • Continued work on the remaining land transfers from TRCA, the Regional Municipality of York, and the cities of Toronto and Markham.


A Vibrant Farming Community

The Rouge is home to some of the last remaining working farms in the GTA and is unique among national parks in Canada in protecting agriculture alongside natural and cultural heritage. Much of the farmland in the Rouge is comprised of Class 1 soil – the richest, rarest, most fertile and most endangered soil in Canada.

The local farming community took part in several marquee events in 2018. At “Taste of the Trail” in August, visitors sampled local treats and farm produce, including fresh sweet corn, maple syrup and honey. To wrap up the season, Sweet Ridge Farms created a picture-perfect pumpkin patch at the “Fall Walks Festival” in October.


2018 Conservation Success Stories

Parks Canada continued to partner with the Toronto Zoo on the Blanding’s turtle head-start and reintroduction program. In June 2018, 49 more juvenile turtles were released into the Rouge, bringing the total number released since 2014 to 165 turtles.

Parks Canada also worked with the Toronto Zoo and the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle to monitor species-at-risk, including chorus frogs, milk snakes and three species of bats.

Habitat restoration projects continued in 2018 and resulted in the restoration of 14.8 hectares of wetlands, streams, riverbank habitat and forests. More than 10,000 native plants and 64 kg of seeds were also planted throughout the national urban park as part of this work.


Visitor Experience Highlights

In June 2018, the park hosted “Rouge After Dark” for the first time! This special nighttime event included a campfire, traditional storytelling with our Indigenous partners and interactive family-friendly activities focused on learning all about the nocturnal creatures of the Rouge.

In September 2018, the park’s inaugural “Earth Run in the Rouge and Indigenous Arts Celebration” included trail races, as well as a post-race celebration of the arts, culture, knowledge and histories of the traditional peoples who share a historic connection to the Rouge.


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