Banff. Jasper. Gros Morne. Scarborough, Ont.?
The prospect that parts of Toronto's easternmost borough may join Canada's list of national parks got one step closer to reality yesterday, when Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent told a group of park supporters gathered at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus that plans for the park are on their "final course."
"We should have, I would think, within the year a vision of the ultimate boundaries," Kent said of the government's plans for the park.
If it were to come into being, the Rouge National Urban Park would be the first national park to fall within the boundaries of a major Canadian city. According to comments earlier this year by Michael Chong, the Conservative MP for Wellington/Halton Hills who sits on the Rouge Park Alliance, bringing the area under Parks Canada oversight would mean that "some seven million people will be able to drive to a national park in just an hour, instead of driving for hours and hours. It's access to a national treasure."
It would also mean that it would qualify for inclusion in any future additions to the National Parks Project, a collection of musical films set in Canada's national parks that brought together some of the country's most celebrated musicians with its most notable filmmakers. The set of short movies featured such collaborations as Sam Roberts and Kathleen Edwards with director Hubert Davis in Wapusk, Manitoba, Melissa Auf der Maur and director Sturla Gunnarsson in Newfoundland and Labrador's Gros Morne National Park, and Sarah Harmer and Jim Guthrie with director Scott Smith in British Columbia's Gwaii Haanas.
You can watch the films here.
If Rouge Valley does join Canada's list of federally protected wilderness destinations, surely an update of the National Parks Project is required. And who better to represent it than son of Scarborough Kardinal Offishall, who will be in the red chair on our show later this month?
Beides, Kardi already has a good record of repping Canadian destinations: