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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Opening Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park

UXBRIDGE — The Ontario government is marking Canada Day by giving people an early look at Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park – Ontario’s newest provincial park, which opens to the public free of charge on July 1st.


Visitors will have the opportunity to explore existing trails at the park while the province begins the process of developing a park management plan, which will help determine the types of recreational opportunities and facilities that will be offered and what steps need to be taken to protect nature.


“With 83 per cent of Ontario’s growing population located in urban centres, it’s imperative that we build more provincial parks closer to home,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “The establishment of the Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park marks a significant step in our government’s commitment to expand our park system. I look forward to working with our partners to protect and expand green spaces for future generations to enjoy.”


Located just 50 kilometres northeast of downtown Toronto, this new addition to Ontario’s provincial parks system will provide more recreational opportunities for people living in or near the GTA.


“The Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park will offer countless opportunities for families to connect with nature while providing access to the local economy. I am excited to see this vision come to life, enhancing both our community's prosperity and Uxbridge’s environmental legacy for future generations,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge.


The government will release the preliminary park management plan in the coming months, with consultation on the draft plan expected to begin in the fall. People are welcome to share any new ideas or information to help develop the plan. A background information document is available for comment on the Environmental Registry of Ontario until July 28, 2024.


Establishing the Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts and shared vision of the Township of Uxbridge, The Regional Municipality of Durham, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, The Schad Foundation, and Green Durham Association. The government will continue working with local partners and landowners to identify lands that could be added to the park in the future.


Quick Facts


  • In the 2024 Ontario Budget: Building a Better Ontario, the government committed $19 million over three years for the creation of Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park. This funding will be used to support costs related to regulation of the initial parcels of land, park management planning and consultation, park operations, and possible future expansion.

  • At this time, there are no facilities or services offered at the site of the new park, and parking is limited. A couple of existing trails are available for the public to use, free of charge.

  • On May 7, 2024, a Private Member's Bill was introduced in the Ontario legislature that would, if passed, add an “urban” classification of provincial park to the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, which would support access to nature-based recreation in, or near, urban centres. If these amendments are approved, Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park could be classified as the province’s first Urban Class provincial park.

  • Ontario manages and protects more than 340 provincial parks (116 operating parks and 226 non-operating parks) and nearly 300 conservation reserves totalling 9.8 million hectares (24.2 million acres) – an area larger than the province of New Brunswick.


Quotes


"The Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park is an incredibly exciting addition to our community. We are grateful for the support from the province and in particular, Minister Bethlenfalvy, Minister Khanjin, Minister Piccini, and Premier Ford for listening and responding so positively to expand conservation protections and add assets to our local and regional trail network. I can’t wait to see the no trespassing signs removed and these lands open and ready to enjoy by the people of Ontario. This is an enormous opportunity for economic activity in Uxbridge."


- Dave Barton

Mayor of the Township of Uxbridge


"Currently, there are more than 350 kilometres of recreational trails across the region. With the addition of Uxbridge Urban Provincial Park, more residents and visitors will have opportunities to explore and appreciate another aspect of the region while connecting with nature. As this project progresses and conversations continue, Durham Region will be able to determine whether a portion of regional lands can be added to this provincial park over time."


- John Henry

Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer, The Regional Municipality of Durham


"More than 20 years ago, a vision of lands protected for conservation and an extensive trail network was developed by Uxbridge community members, Township staff, and conservationists. Green Durham Association has been a strong advocate in advancing this vision ever since. Because of our unified efforts, this special area of trails, trees and meadows help to clean our air, protect our water sources, and provides respite from living our busy urban lives."


- Liz Calvin

President of Green Durham Association


"Congratulations on the historic establishment of Ontario’s first Urban Provincial Park – and in record time! This world-class project sets an amazing new model for how the public and private sector can work together to expand parks and protected areas. The Schad Foundation is honored to be a partner in this project and looks forward to helping to expand this model across the province."


- Peter Kendall

Executive Director, The Schad Foundation

"We are excited to support the expansion of publicly accessible greenspaces in Ontario that will serve as vital connectors, enhancing the conservation legacy of TRCA's Trail Strategy by connecting people to nature. TRCA is eager to contribute to the next phase of the park planning process and extend our gratitude to our valued partners. We look forward to collaborating on the creation of more accessible, greener, and sustainable communities for the future."


- John Mackenzie

Chief Executive Officer, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority


"We applaud the Government of Ontario on the announcement of Ontario’s first urban provincial park. In a critical part of the Greenbelt, this innovative approach to large park development will help meet ever-increasing demand for access to near urban nature and recreational opportunities while also protecting areas important to ensuring clean air and water and biodiversity corridors that enable successful growth in our province."


- Edward McDonnell

Chief Executive Officer of the Greenbelt Foundation


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