This Easter weekend has been one of rest and relaxation for me. Getting to visit the in-laws in Windsor, and without a whole lot to do (because this site is now launched), meant that I’ve been able to relax and enjoy the different things around me – the Habs closing out the season with a win over the evil Toronto Maple Leafs, the Blue Jays going 2-0, with both games going to extra innings, and most definitely, getting to visit Point Pelee National Park today and standing on the southernmost tip of Canada (other than a few pesky islands just out of view on the horizon from Point Pelee). Did you know that it’s on the same parallel as Rome and Barcelona? Surprise.
Okay, you say, enough with the drivel about your mini-vacation, on to the urban-mindedness!
One of the things that I couldn’t help but think about while visiting Point Pelee this afternoon was the Rouge Valley, and how it may very shortly become the most urban of all our national parks. Last year, the federal Conservatives announced that about 10,000 acres would be designated as national parkland, thereby saving it from development and further ecological deterioration. Awesome.
I’ve never been to the Rouge Valley, and that’s my own fault, but some really cool things start to pop out when I think about the potential that exists there. 7 million people live within an hours’ drive of the park, and it would be the first “near-urban” national park, which has the super-cool bonus of being the first national park readily accessible by public transportation (TTC for the win!). It has a campground in the Toronto section of the park, and the majority of the human interaction with the park (some cottages, a dam) have been removed and re-naturalized.
I’m an urban-minded guy, no question. If I were to move out to the country somewhere, I would have a very interesting time adapting my practices and core values to the necessity of car ownership, big land plots, buying in bulk and eating less fresh fruits and veggies. At the same time, rural areas are absolutely crucial to our development as a society. It is vital that groups of children, youth and adults be able to visit an untouched place like the Rouge, and interact with the flora and the fauna in a way that promotes respect and understanding for the natural world around us.
Parks like Rouge Park are exactly what the City of Toronto needs. We need to be able to see trees from our back door, and we shouldn’t have planted all of them. Although the designation as a national park has been put on the rocks with the current budget, I’m hoping that it gets around to being done sooner rather than later.
[Photo by Kiril Strax.]
I’m hoping to get a few awesome photos from my father-in-law of the great horned owl and other awesome sights today. If I do, I’ll post them for you all to see.