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.

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