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Connect With Your Community and Be A Part of the Biggest Rouge Watershed Celebration in the GTA

May 19, 2010

(TORONTO, MAY 19, 2010) From May 26 - May 29, residents will celebrate the Rouge Watershed, an extraordinary natural resource in Southern Ontario that spans 336 km2 of land and water in the Regions of York and Durham, Cities of Toronto and Pickering, and Towns of Markham, Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville, at the first Rouge Days event.  The celebration will kick-off on Wednesday, May 26 at the First Nations Grand Opening of Rouge Days from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Glen Rouge Campground in Toronto where Native Leader Stephen Paquette will lead us with a traditional opening song, prayer, smudge ceremony, traditional dances and a look at the First Nations perspective of the Rouge Watershed. Representatives from the City of Toronto, Toronto and Region Conservation and Rouge Park will outline what's in store at the 17 events which make up the four-day celebration of free family-friendly activities, hands on demonstrations, nature walks and hikes; historic tours; frog watching; fishing derby; Rouge Arts Mixer and much more! Each day will feature themed activities including a history day; arts and culture day; critter day and nature day, and will be taking place in locations throughout the Rouge Watershed. Rouge Days is a joint collaborative event initiated by Toronto and Region Conservation, Rouge Park, Town of Markham, Region of York, Town of Richmond Hill and City of Toronto.


"Richmond Hill is unique in that we have three major watersheds meeting within our borders, with the Rouge Watershed being the largest," said Town of Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow. "The Town and community have worked hard to protect, rehabilitate, educate and celebrate our efforts on the Rouge with both Newberry Park and Phyllis Rawlinson Park. We invite residents and visitors out to these two natural parks to help celebrate the natural beauty of Richmond Hill and all the Rouge Watershed has to offer!"

"Protection of the Rouge Watershed is important to maintain healthy communities and continue to provide the high standard of living that our residents currently enjoy in York Region," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  "The Rouge Days celebration is an excellent opportunity for our residents to learn first-hand how this important resource contributes to a healthy environment and serves as a valuable resource to our communities."

"The Rouge River Watershed continues to serve as an integral part of Markham's heritage and natural environment that links communities in York Region and Toronto," said Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. "Events such as the Rouge Days Celebration will help promote the importance of preserving and enhancing our watersheds, while fostering more balanced and sustainable communities."

The Rouge Watershed includes all the lands that drain to the Rouge River and its tributaries, including the Little Rouge River, starting in the hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine and flowing south to Lake Ontario. Rouge Park can be found within the Rouge Watershed, it is the largest urban park in North America, protects 40 km2 of the watershed, encompassing major stretches of rivers, creeks, forests, meadows and agricultural lands.

"We have many exciting days planned to celebrate both Rouge Park, and the entire Rouge Watershed. Nestled into Canada's largest city, surrounded by urban and agricultural landscapes, Rouge Park offers sanctuary to people and nature alike, " said Alan Wells, Chair of the Rouge Park Alliance. "Rouge Days is the ideal opportunity to discover the stories and experiences available close to home, in Canada's largest urban wilderness park.  Join us and become part of this rich and diverse heritage."

Although the Rouge Watershed is still the healthiest of the six Toronto Region watersheds, it is showing many signs of stress due to past land use practices and ongoing population growth. TRCA, Rouge Park Alliance along with municipalities and local community groups are working together to protect and restore the Rouge.

"Community involvement is key to protecting, enhancing and celebrating the Rouge Watershed," said Adele Freeman, Director, Watershed Management, TRCA. "The next four days celebrate the cultural, recreational, and natural heritage in the Rouge Watershed and brings the community out to connect and discover the treasures right in their own backyards."

WHAT: First Nations Grand Opening of Rouge Days

Celebrate the kick-off of Rouge Days!
Enjoy a Free BBQ and refreshments, displays and the opportunity to meet members of Native Child Family Services and tour through two teepees.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

WHERE:  Glen Rouge Campground is located off Highway 2 at 7450 Kingston Road, just North of Highway 401 and East of Sheppard Avenue / Port Union Road interchange.

May 26: History Day

May 27: Critter Day

May 28: Arts & Culture Day

May 29: Nature Day

For a full list of scheduled activities for each event, please visit




For media information, contact:

Rowena Calpito. Supervisor, Media Management                     
Toronto and Region Conservation

Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5632

Mobile: 416-358-3446



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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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