MM in Rouge Park

Metro Morning hits airwaves from Toronto's beautiful Rouge Park

It was easy to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature during a special edition of CBC Radio's Metro Morning Friday in Toronto's Rouge Park in order to help celebrate Canada's Parks Day, which takes place Saturday.

Radio show gets some fresh air in Canada's 1st national urban park

CBC Radio host Matt Galloway, left, chats with Rouge National Urban Park external relations manager Omar McDadi about Toronto's massive conservation area. (John Rieti/CBC)

It was easy to enjoy the simple pleasures of nature during a special edition of CBC Radio's Metro Morning Friday in Toronto's Rouge Park.

The show hit the trails in order to help celebrate Canada's Parks Day, which takes place tomorrow, and on the third Saturday of July each year.

The day began with host Matt Galloway hitting the airwaves as a serene sunrise came over the horizon and mist and sunshine filled the air. 

Rouge National Urban Park is set to become the first of its kind in Canada, preserving more than 1,700 different species over 5,000 hectares of parkland.

Many still consider the conservation area's rolling hills and gorgeous landscapes a hidden gem. 

(John Rieti/CBC)

Heike Reuse, an OCAD U grad, is the park's first ever photographer in residence. This summer, she'll be exploring the park with her camera, and has already captured some stunning images of the park's inhabitants, from toads to birds.

(Heike Reuse/Submitted)
(Heike Reuse/Submitted)
(Heike Reuse/Submitted)

Rouge Park brings the wilderness to Canada's largest city with vast meadows, freshwater wetlands and century-old trees.

The site serves as a natural oasis to city dwellers and is located just 35 kilometres away from city hall.

Many Torontonians who discover the park quickly fall in love. 

The park refers to itself as "the largest natural environment park in an urban area in North America." 

It will eventually cover 79 square kilometres as all three levels of government work toward its preservation. 

(John Rieti/CBC)

The park encourages visitors to hike through the many kilometres of varied elevation to enjoy natural views from a sandy beach to running waterways. 

The conservation area is praised online for being a tremendous place to enjoy trails or simply relax and bask in nature. 

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says more than 7 million people live within an hour commute of Rouge Park, which is accessible by public transit and located right beside the Toronto Zoo.

Jennifer McKelvie says Rouge park is a selling feature of Scarborough because "it's a fun place where you can still be in the city and feel like you're really up in northern Ontario... and you can really experience what Canada is all about." (John Rieti/CBC)

Local efforts are being made to increase the size of the park by more than 4,000 hectares to further insulate the eastern edge of the city with a sea of forests and farms.

Anna Bell, an advocate of protecting the park with the conservation group Ontario Nature, has called the area a "jewel of nature."

There is no cost to enter the park and it's open 365 days a year. That means visitors can enjoy an untarnished portion of southern Ontario from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario in all four seasons.

And within the next two years, there should be an app available to help visitors traverse the greenery and watershed. 

In the meantime, park officials are urging Ontarians and tourists to get outside and enjoy all of what Rouge Park has to offer.