THE ROUGE RIVER WATERSHED
The Rouge River watershed is an extraordinary resource in Southern Ontario, treasured and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
It spans nearly 350 square kilometres of land and water in the Regions of York and Durham, the Cities of Toronto, Pickering and Markham, and the Towns of Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville..
It includes all the lands that drain to the Rouge River and its tributaries, including the Little Rouge River, starting in the hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine and flowing south to Lake Ontario.
The Rouge River watershed is home to Canada’s first national park in an urban area: Rouge National Urban Park.
To learn more about the ongoing efforts to ensure the health and sustainability of the Rouge River watershed, visit Toronto and Region Conservation online.
WATERSHED SIZE: 336 square kilometers
(Rouge National Urban Park: 41 square kilometers)
ABOUT ROUGE NATIONAL URBAN PARK
Parks Canada is excited to work towards the establishment of Canada’s first national urban park – Rouge National Urban Park – in the Greater Toronto Area.
A rich assemblage of natural, cultural and agricultural landscapes, Rouge National Urban Park is home to amazing biodiversity, some of the last remaining working farms in the Greater Toronto Area, Carolinian ecosystems, Toronto’s only campground, one of the region’s largest marshes, unspoiled beaches, amazing hiking opportunities, and human history dating back over 10,000 years, including some of Canada’s oldest known Indigenous sites.
Once fully established, Rouge National Urban Park will be one of the largest and best protected urban parks of its kind in the world, spanning 79.1 square kilometres in the heart of Canada’s largest and most diverse metropolitan area, overlapping the cities of Toronto, Markham and Pickering and the Township of Uxbridge.
Indeed, Rouge National Urban Park will be 22 times larger than Central Park in New York.
THE GREENBELT PLAN
Ontario’s Greenbelt Plan (2016) identifies a 600 metre-wide corridor for the Little Rouge River as the main ecological corridor between Lake Ontario and the southerly boundary of Oak Ridges Moraine Area, as well as several other Rouge River tributaries, in recognition of the longstanding commitment to establishing Rouge National Urban Park.