Bryon Wilfert, MP, Richmond Hill
Parks and historic sites play an irreplaceable role in Canadian society. For conservation, preservation, or recreation, this country’s open spaces allow for exploration, education, and relaxation. Since 1990, Canadian parks of all sizes and roles have been celebrated on the third Saturday in July in the form of Canada’s Parks Day.
Organized by the Canadian Parks Council, this day features special activities at parks of many levels – regional, provincial, territorial, and national. This year, Canada’s Parks Day will recognize the International Year of Biodiversity as well as the 125th anniversary of the creation of Banff, Canada’s first national park.
As past president of the Canada Parks and Recreation Association, I have had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand the many advantages of our parks. I have expressed my support for the conservation of the Dunlap Observatory lands, as well as for the establishment of the Rouge Park along the eastern boundary of York Region and the City of Toronto.
Additional information on this day, the Canadian Parks Council, and picturesque local parks can be found here:
PARKS DAY EVENTS
From Vancouver Island in the West, to Baffin Island in the North and Newfoundland and Labrador in the East, nearly 50,000 people participate in more than 300 Parks Day events annually. Park agencies often choose Canada’s Parks Day to open new facilities such as visitor centres, launch new services, celebrate anniversaries, or open an entire park. Canadians of all ages and summer visitors to Canada are invited to discover or learn more about the nature and history of Canada by participating in Canada’s Parks Day festivities. Park staff and community volunteers – such as “friends of” organizations and naturalists clubs – work together to offer special programs including:
► campfires with interpretation, songs and skits;
► art displays by Canadian artists;
► nature and wildflower walks;
► canoe tours and rafting trips;
► kite-making workshops;
► lumberjack competitions and demonstrations;
► water-themed activities;
► eco-challenge hikes;
► traditional Aboriginal food, crafts, music and storytelling; and
► historical demonstrations such as rope making,
cooking, candle-making, and Morse Code
CANADIAN PARKS COUNCIL
The Canadian Parks Council facilitates cooperation between Canada’s national, provincial and territorial park agencies. All ten provincial and three territorial park agencies, as well as the federal government agency Parks Canada, are members of
the Council. In doing so, it enables agencies to ensure that Canadians can continue to be proud of the role parks and protected areas play in preserving natural spaces. The Council provides a Canada-wide forum for inter-governmental information sharing and action on parks and protected areas that:
► promotes excellence in parks and protected areas planning and management;
► advocates parks and protected areas values and interests; and
► encourages cooperation and provides support to member agencies on parks and protected areas issues and initiatives
PARKS CLOSE TO HOME
Richmond Green, the largest park in Richmond Hill, was built to accommodate sports enthusiasts and park visitors from well beyond the town’s borders. “The Green” features a landscaped inline skating trail that is transformed into an outdoor, artificial ice surface in the winter. It also includes seven baseball diamonds, a splash pad, and an outdoor amphitheatre.
Twickenham Park is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful open space areas in the town. A walkway winds its way along a branch of the Don River and provides lookout sites to a headwater pond, wildflower meadow, and mature hardwood forest.
Mill Pond Park was named in recognition of the sawmill operation that used this pond for power. The sawmill is an important component of Richmond Hill’s culture heritage because it was part of what made the heart of Richmond Hill an attractive place to settle in the late 1800s. The park plays host to concerts, carnivals, and other special events.
Canada’s Parks Day (2)