Canada’s First Urban National Park in the Rouge River Watershed : Visualizing its Natural Capital

Despite being in the heart of the GTA and thus within 100km of  20 per cent of Canada’s population, the Rouge river watershed remains a remarkably intact swath of forests, grasslands and waterways. Protection of the watershed is the newest project of The David Suzuki Foundation and organizers have poised the Rouge to become Canada’s first urban National Park. The proposed space stretches 6,000 hectares  from Lake Ontario up into Ontario’s greenbelt – making the Rouge 18 times larger than Central Park.

The David Suzuki foundation aims to connect the millions of GTA residents with the geographically, culturally and historically significant lands protected in the Rouge National Park. The foundation has conducted a natural capital valuation of the proposed area assessing the services that the ecosystem provides for free.  Processes such as water filtration and carbon storage are evaluated and estimates are produced recounting how much they would cost to replace. Evaluating natural capital generates the ecosystem’s value in economic terms and provides a compelling argument for its protection in our current political climate.

David Suzuki has teamed up with the students and faculty at OCAD University in Toronto to unlock the environmental statistics that were released in the Rouge report. Students created visual representations of the results in order to clarify the benefits associated with the parks creation. The compelling images reach out to a broader audience and browsing through them below is very much encouraged.

Creating a national park within Canada’s most populated region increases urban residents access to natural spaces and encourages education regarding the importance of environmental protection and conservation. To find out more about the proposed park check out the David Suzuki Page or the Rouge Park Site.


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