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New education and welcome centre coming to Rouge National Urban Park

Last Updated Aug 27, 2019 at 11:57 am EDT

Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna announces a new education and welcome centre coming to Rouge National Urban Park, Aug. 27, 2019. CITYNEWS

A new education and welcome centre is coming to Rouge National Urban Park thanks to another joint partnership with the federal government.

Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna announced the project on Tuesday.

The new centre will be built at an existing overflow parking lot for the nearby Toronto Zoo.

“It’s gonna be amazing,” McKenna said. “This is on public transportation, and a big thank you to the Toronto Zoo, to the TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) for transferring this land to the park to that we can build a welcome centre that educates Canadians, young and old, about how amazing this park is.”

The project will also include the building of a new, five-kilometre trail in the Markham area of the park, and two new visitor areas which will open to the public on Sept. 23 — the first day of fall.

“Come for your incredible fall hikes, you will see the leaves in this really extraordinary place,” McKenna said.

Mayor John Tory called the announcement example of positive cooperation between governments — on Monday, the federal, provincial and municipal government announced the funding of two major transit projects in the GTHA.

“I want to thank the federal government for working with us to move forward with this major initiative for Rouge National Urban Park,” said Tory.

“Today’s announcement is another important step forward for the future of the Rouge National Urban Park and for the ongoing conservation efforts at the Toronto Zoo. It is another example of the ongoing cooperation between governments and our treasured institutions leading to real results for our residents.”

The Rouge National Urban Park contains 1,700 species of plants and animals and is one of the region’s largest marshes. The park also contains Toronto’s only campground, beaches, hiking trails and some of Canada’s oldest known Indigenous sites.

Construction on the welcome centre is expected to be complete in three years.