Rouge Park Analysis


At the heart of the Greater Toronto Area is the Rouge Park which was established in 1995. The park is one of the most visible features within the locality and is highly significant to the people of Toronto. The Rouge Park is identified as both a node and a landmark that is located within the Grater Toronto Area. This paper discusses the Rouge Park in relation to the elements of nodes and landmarks as discussed in the book the image of the city by Kevin Lynch. In particular, the justification for this assumption is critically analyzed in the subsequent sections. Evidently, the Rouge Park serves the elements of nodes and landmarks within the Greater Toronto Area.

The paper is a coherent analysis of the Rouge Park with reference to the two elements of nodes and landmarks. The choice of these two elements is based on the different locations within which the area is analyzed. The park serves the element of a landmark when viewed from outside while serving the element of nodes when viewed from within. The location and site of the element is discussed in depth with a focus on the unique identifiers as well as the quantitative description of the park. In addition, the element is analyzed in relation to other elements of similar features. The paper further provides a historical and field research of the element under study. In this undertaking, the paper relies on published literature including journals and magazines in painting the history of the park. Lastly the origin of the park is discussed as well as field observations.

Location, Site and Situation

The Rouge Park was established in 1995 within the Greater Toronto Area. It covers an approximate of 50 square kilometers in area stretching across different towns. The park is next to the Rouge River from where it gets its waters and is formed along the river. Also, the park provides protection to the river by acting as the source of the waters flowing in the river. As a result of this protection, the Rouge River is one of the healthiest rivers in the Greater Toronto Area. Besides acting as a tourism attraction site, the Rouge Park is an extensive farmland in which different crops are planted. It is the largest nature park among North America’s metropolitan parks and is close to becoming the first park in an urban area in Canada.

Eventually, the park will be the largest national park in an urban area in Canada. Plans are underway to expand its current area to 79 square kilometers. Following the expansion, the Rouge Park will be fifty times larger than Toronto’s High Park. The park is currently open to visitors and has no charge making it a darling of the people. It is located along the border of Ontario, Pickering and Toronto with extensive farmlands within it. The park is about 12,365 acres translating into an approximate area of 5,000 hectares. In comparison, the other fifteen parks within the Toronto region are smaller in size. Some including High Park and Awendo Park are relatively smaller at below 2000 hectares.

Historical and Field Research

The Rouge Park was established in 1995 in the Greater Toronto Area. However, its history and origin date back to a very long time ago. In fact, the development of the forest is traced to 12,000 years ago when glaciers melted resulting in a proliferation of plants around the area (Cheng et al, 2006). Also, the glacial period resulted in the formation of rock outcrops within the Rouge Park. Further, the park has a human history that extends to more than ten thousand years to include Paleolithic hunters, European explorers and Iroquoian farmers. Today, the park is dominated by a suburban population drawn from different cultural backgrounds. The fertility of the area attracted many people to live in the park with homes stretched across the different regions of the park. However, these areas are now protected and are safe from human encroachment. The current Rouge River as well as the forests, wetlands and valleys in the park provided food to the nomadic groups that dwelled in the park. The landscape of the Rouge Park was also altered by the emergence of huge permanent settlements before the 20th century (Cadieux et al, 2013).

The history of the park is well documented having changed in its purpose and use in the society over time. In the 1950s, the banks of the Rouge River that flows within the park provided a source of tourist attraction.  In fact, they were captured in canvas by famous painters in memory of their beauty before they were eventually degraded. Over time, the purpose of the park has changed owing to the different uses it has experienced. In the past, the park has doubled up as both a resort and recreational facility but is now an established urban park. The transition into an urban park is highly significant because it supports conservation efforts. The nature of the park and the suburban neighborhood dictate its use to be largely leisure activities. In addition, the park has continually supported the friendly neighborhood through extraction of resources and development of social aspects (Mohsin & Gough, 2010). Today, majority of the people from the neighborhood use the park for recreational purposes.

The history of the park and its origin is well captured through some of its national historical sites. One of these sites is the Toronto Carrying Place that acted as a portage route many years ago. Nomads would carry water along the Rouge River into the Holland River. Although the route was initially used by the First Nations people, it was also used by early European traders. Today, the route is not clearly marked for the public but is evidence of the changing uses of the Rouge Park over time. In the seventeenth century, the park encompassed the Bead Hill within Seneca village where people built settlements (Cheng et al, 2006). Today, the history is marked through an archaic campsite that is touted to be about 3,000 years old. The site has undergone minimal disruptions and contains a wealth of information in the naturally protected midden. However, the area is not open to the public owing to its sensitivity and in a bid to avoid human encroachment.


The Rouge Park is an important landmark as well as node in the Greater Toronto Area along the border of Toronto, Pickering and Ontario. Having being established in 1995, the park covers an approximate of fifty square kilometers. However, there are plans to increase the area to about 19 square kilometers in the near future. Part of the main features of the park includes the Rouge River which is protected making it one of the healthiest rivers in Toronto. Today, the park is the largest nature park within an urban area in the wider North America region. It is about 5000 hectares long translating into more than twelve thousand acres and is the largest among the fifteen parks in Toronto.

Despite the late establishment of the park, it has a rich history coupled with an interesting origin from the last glacial period. The park has a history that is twelve thousand years long and a human history of about ten thousand years. The park has supported a myriad of people from different background in its history of existence including nomadic hunters and the current suburban population. The beauty of the banks of the Rouge River is well documented in different arts published as early as the 1950s. The history of the park has committed it into different roles including acting as a resort as well as a recreational facility. Also, its history includes the preservation of archaeological sites that were used in ancient times and are still evident today. Ultimately, the park is analyzed as both a node and a landmark depending on the location from where it is being viewed.



Cheng, Q., Ko, C., Yuan, Y., Ge, Y., & Zhang, S. (2006). GIS modeling for predicting river runoff volume in ungauged drainages in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. Computers & geosciences, 32(8), 1108-1119.

Cadieux, K. V., Taylor, L. E., & Bunce, M. F. (2013). Landscape ideology in the Greater Toronto Area: Negotiating material landscapes and abstract ideals in the city’s countryside. Journal of Rural Studies, 32, 307-319.

Mohsin, T., & Gough, W. A. (2010). Trend analysis of long-term temperature time series in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 101(3-4), 311-327.


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