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Beach & Boardwalk Project

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Draft conceptual renderings offer us a glimpse of a reimagined Rouge Beach and Wetland area where careful planning, enhanced visitor services and park presence,  addressing rising water levels and eroding shoreline and wetland restoration and ecological health gains will ensure the long term protection and enjoyment of this cherished location.

This project features a revitalization of the Beach Day Use Area, one of the most visited areas in Rouge National Urban Park; a new signature trail that will provide an in-park connection from Rouge Beach to the existing Mast trail; and a revitalization of the existing Mast Trailhead, which will be the northern limit of this new signature trail. This project will enhance and further protect the natural and cultural integrity of the area and foster meaningful connections to its beauty and rich history.

We want to hear from you! During the engagement phase of this project, our team will use a variety of tools and techniques to ensure you have the opportunity to provide your feedback, even with COVID 19 physical distancing measures in place. Engagement for this project will rely heavily on web and social media platforms. We all look forward to when we can make more in person connections but for now, , we'll make sure we receive all your input, whether online or over the phone.

Please click on the "Newsfeed" tool below for more information on this project, key milestones, and updates. Click on the Ideas, Stories, and Survey tools to share your comments, concerns and great ideas!

Visit often! We look forward to hearing from you!




This project features a revitalization of the Beach Day Use Area, one of the most visited areas in Rouge National Urban Park; a new signature trail that will provide an in-park connection from Rouge Beach to the existing Mast trail; and a revitalization of the existing Mast Trailhead, which will be the northern limit of this new signature trail. This project will enhance and further protect the natural and cultural integrity of the area and foster meaningful connections to its beauty and rich history.

We want to hear from you! During the engagement phase of this project, our team will use a variety of tools and techniques to ensure you have the opportunity to provide your feedback, even with COVID 19 physical distancing measures in place. Engagement for this project will rely heavily on web and social media platforms. We all look forward to when we can make more in person connections but for now, , we'll make sure we receive all your input, whether online or over the phone.

Please click on the "Newsfeed" tool below for more information on this project, key milestones, and updates. Click on the Ideas, Stories, and Survey tools to share your comments, concerns and great ideas!

Visit often! We look forward to hearing from you!




  • Project Background

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    25 May 2020
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    Enhancements to the Rouge Beach and Marsh Area of Rouge National Urban Park

    In June 2019, Rouge National Urban Park reached a major milestone in its establishment when the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority transferred 18.5 km² of lands to Parks Canada for the national urban park, making it one of the world’s largest urban protected areas. These lands included the majority of the original Rouge Park, much of which is a part of the West Rouge and Pickering Rouge communities.

    With the transfer of these stunning landscapes that feature forests, river valleys, wetlands, and portions of the Lake Ontario shoreline, Parks Canada and its partners are now able to make enhancements to the area, starting with increased law enforcement, educational programming, litter clean-ups, staff presence, new and improved trails, and ecological restoration work. These exciting advancements bring us closer to realizing the vision for Rouge National Urban Park.

    One thing we’ve consistently heard is that Rouge Beach is an area of particular interest to the West Rouge and Pickering Rouge communities. In recent years, the Rouge Beach access road has experienced significant flooding events, requiring the closure of the lower parking lot for most of the summer season. Infrastructure enhancements that both improve the natural environment and provide visitor access to connect to the waterfront is a topic that was extensively discussed and presented in our 2020 engagement sessions and community walks. Furthermore, a new trail and boardwalk that will provide an in-park connection from Rouge Beach to the Mast Trail is being planned, including a new washroom facility near Mast Trail.

    At the heart of these improvements is ecological restoration, along with continued efforts to protect and enhance the Rouge Beach and Marsh, and reduce the impacts of erosion and human presence around the parking lot and day use areas.

    Parks Canada also has plans to increase law enforcement in the area via enhanced Park Warden and staff presence along with more educational programming and visitor services. Did you know that in 2019, Parks Canada responded to more fisheries violations at Rouge Beach than any other national park in Canada?

    The Parks Canada team at Rouge National Urban Park is working diligently to ensure enhancements to the Rouge Beach and Marsh area help to significantly improve the natural and cultural integrity of the area, and foster meaningful connections to its natural beauty and rich history.

    Ecological Integrity as Rouge National Urban Park's First Priority

    Parks Canada is committed to the ecological integrity of the park. It is a first priority as outlined in the 2019 Park Management Plan and the Rouge National Urban Park Act.

    "Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, must be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of the Park."

    Species at Risk Act (2002)

    Under the Species At Risk Act (2002): "in the event that a project may jeopardize the survival or recovery of a species at risk, a permit to conduct the project could be issued only if the activity were accompanied by actions to benefit the species such that the residual effects of the activity would not jeopardize its survival or recovery. PCA will undertake actions to benefit all species at risk that may be affected in the project area, and plans of these actions will be made available to the public as they become available.”

    Parks Canada and Rouge National Urban Park will continue our efforts to maintain and enhance the ecological integrity of the Rouge Beach and marsh and all lands in our care.

    Key Milestones to Date:

    • June 2019 - Transfer of 18.5 km² of lands from the TRCA to Rouge National Urban Park
    • December 2019 - Completion of Beach and Boardwalk Technical Feasibility Report
    • February 2020 - West Rouge Community Site Tours
  • February Community Walks - Thanks!

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    25 May 2020
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    From November to February, project managers conducted site visits and meetings with multiple partners and stakeholders including the Waterfront Regeneration Trust; the West Rouge Community Association; The Friends of Rouge National Urban Park; the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle; the Pickering Rouge Canoe Club; the Pickering Naturalists; Councillor McKelvie; and the Honourable David Crombie. We look forward to continued collaboration with these and other groups in the coming months.

    On February 16th, 17th, 21st, and 22nd, Rouge National Urban Park hosted local community tours of the Rouge Beach and proposed trail options. Organised by the West Rouge Community Association and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, over 50 people participated in the community tours and the discussion and feedback received will help further inform conversations and decisions around the future of this much loved and important area.

  • A Pattern of Flooding at Rouge Beach

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    25 May 2020
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    During the 2017 and 2019 summer season, flooding at Rouge Beach effectively closed the beach access for the majority of the operational season. As you can see from the photos, the high water levels flooded the entire parking area, the trail to the beach, and caused extensive erosion and damage to the shoreline and paved areas. Flooding also created unsanitary and unsafe conditions, making it dangerous for public use.

    The frequency and severity of rising water levels and weather events is one of many key issues park planners are considering as we work to protect the ecological integrity and the enjoyment of this site for generations to come.

    Click on article to see more photos.

    June 2019 - Flooded trail to Rouge Beach

    June 2019 - Flooded Rouge Beach Parking

    Image from Google Earth, Spring 2020


  • Recent Improvements to the Rouge Beach Upper Parking Lot

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    In early August 2020, Parks Canada made some much needed improvements to the upper parking lot at Rouge Beach. These improvements include:

    • Adding a solid yellow line to delineate traffic lanes along the main road down to the lower parking lot

    • Improved identification of the multi-use pedestrian/cyclist laneway by adding a “flexpost” barrier with reflectors and signage

    • Improved Parks Canada signage at the site to increase visitor awareness of multi-use lanes while in the parking lot

    • Re-grading gravel parking lot which eliminated potholes

    These changes above will make it safer for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to use this space. The Rouge is committed on working with the local Councillor and the community on improving this area of the park!

  • The Parks Canada Impact Assessment Process

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    The Parks Canada impact assessment process has been developed to fulfil legal obligations under the Impact Assessment Act, as well as other legal and mandated obligations to protect and present Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. Projects and activities with the greatest potential to result in adverse impacts to important natural or cultural resources are assigned to an in-depth, but focused level of analysis through the Detailed Impact Assessment, or DIA, impact assessment pathway. DIAs support decision-making by providing appropriate and rigorous analysis based on sound science, Indigenous knowledge, and Parks Canada policy.

    Every DIA involves the following elements:

    · early integration into the project planning process;

    · the careful identification and selection of valued components (VCs);

    · the application of evidence based decision-making;

    · an appropriate level of public engagement; and

    · Indigenous engagement and/or Indigenous consultation.

    These elements provide the focus, rigour and inclusiveness necessary for the assessment of complex proposals, in a manner appropriate to the potential for adverse environmental impacts.

    The public engagement process for the DIA is currently under development. At a minimum, notification of the DIA will be posted on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry and the draft DIA will be made available for public comment.