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Toronto’s Hidden Gem: Rouge National Park

Deer in Reesor Wetland, Credit: Jim Robb

Deer in Reesor Wetland, Credit: Jim Robb

The Rouge National Park is the 79.1 km2 of publicly owned land that surrounds the Rouge River. This park is situated in close proximity to 20 percent of Canada’s population and is home to more than 1,700 species of flora and fauna.

The previous federal government passed weak legislation that threatens the integrity of the great biodiversity that calls the Rouge home. This legislation failed to “meet or exceed” pre-existing Ontario Greenbelt and Rouge Park Plans and does not clearly prioritize nature conservation as the primary purpose of the park and its management.

The current federal government is taking steps to help strengthen our Rouge National Park by making ecological integrity a priority for legislation. However, this can easily turn into an empty promise if the government fails to implement policy that meets the expectations of pre-existing conservation plans.

Rouge Nature Hike, Credit: Jim Robb

Rouge Nature Hike, Credit: Jim Robb

Why is protecting Rouge Park so important to me? Residents of the GTA and areas surrounding Lake Ontario rely on natural areas to cushion the effects that climate change and growth have on our ecosystem. Rouge Park’s location right next to Lake Ontario allows the water to be filtered and pollutants to be absorbed, before traveling to the lake where we inevitably drink it.

To me the Rouge is more than just some park that I live close to. It carries so much history behind it and there is always more to discover. The Rouge is about paying attention to the little details in the ever changing paradigm of the modern world. Those moments that you can’t take a picture of yet travel with you forever.

Finch Meander, Credit: Jim Robb

Finch Meander, Credit: Jim Robb

To truly enjoy all of the Rouge’s beauty you have to exercise all your senses. Close your eyes and smell the sharp yet soothing aroma of cedar. Hear the whistling of the trembling aspen leaves in the wind. Feel the cold yet soft mud between your toes as the water slowly trickles by your legs. Embrace nature; and all its treasures will surface. Toronto’s Hidden Gem: The Rouge National Park. This is a place worth protecting.



Sujeethan Vigneswaran is a member of Ontario Nature’s Youth Council and Friends of the Rouge Watershed.


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  1. Noah Cole

    This is amazing and impressive Sujeet! Thank you, it inspires me to see the beautiful rivers, trails, flowers, forest and wildlife of the Rouge watershed area.

  2. Mel Kushner

    Love it and couldn’t agree more!! Keep writing!!

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