Rouge Park project glides into next phase
Premier Kathleen Wynne joins the fun a day before added protections take effect
The annual Paddle the Rouge event to connect kids to nature at the Rouge National Urban Park had a lot to celebrate Sunday, aside from Father’s Day.
Bill C-18 is set to become law on Monday to ensure Canada’s first national urban park will make wildlife the first priority in managing the green space. It will also add land to the park, which covers parts of Toronto, Markham, Pickering and Uxbridge.
“I want to make sure that everyone involved knows our government continues to support, and we’ll do what we can to make sure this is a very successful project,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told the Star.
Wynne was aboard the inaugural ride Sunday morning on the Canada 150 Rouge Park Express, which connects downtown Toronto to Rouge National Urban Park. The free bus service will run every Saturday, Sunday and holiday Mondays from July1 to Oct. 16. It’s a 30-minute ride and will leave from 30 Carlton St., near College Station, at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Wynne and Minister of Environ- ment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna went out for a paddle on the water.
“The ride out in the park bus was fantastic. I just think it’s a brilliant idea. And the paddle was terrific,” said Wynne. “We have to be really aware that we all have to do more. There’s bizarre weather happening and the flooding’s part of that.”
The event brought about 100 kids and their parents to paddle the calm waters of the Rouge in Scarborough. The land is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals and protects a rare Carolinian forest.
Despite a downpour early in the morning, the day turned out to be sunny and warm.
“It’s a great Father’s Day,” said 9year-old Lila Singer’s dad, Eli, an Ontario Wildlands League board member.
“The sun’s out and we’re having a perfect day.”
Kathleen Wynne paddles with Dave Pearce of the Wildlands League.