This year’s report contains 30 Canadian cities, including 28 returning cities, and two new cities. We aimed for diversity in size, geography, and official language, and prioritized cities that were returning from 2021, contacted us to participate, or filled a gap.

We distributed questionnaires to park staff, available in both French and English, that included questions on statistics, policies/plans, and projects/practices. The questionnaire included a confidential section about challenges, allowing us to report on cross-country trends.

To ensure data quality, after cities submitted the questionnaires between February and April 2022, we verified some responses independently or followed up with questions. All cities had a chance to verify their City Profile data pre-publication.

We also undertook secondary research of media and scholarly sources. To ensure rich analysis and capture diverse perspectives, we conducted expert interviews with city staff, academic researchers, park professionals, non-profit staff, and community members.

Finally, we created and launched a public survey in March 2022 to collect data on park use, perceptions, and preferences among people living in Canadian cities. This survey was open to residents of Canadian cities and was promoted through our newsletter, social media, and partner networks. We received over 3,000 responses from across the country.

Challenges and Limitations

Part of what makes Canada’s landscape of city parks so exciting is its variety. Climate, topography, and governance are just a few factors that make cities unique—but that comes with challenges for comparability. Differences in which cities participate in the report each year also made cross-year comparability of data challenging, so we focused on overall trends.

Variations within city data

Cities have very different systems regarding what metrics they track, how they track them, and how they coordinate data internally. For some cities, certain numbers were not available, or were only available as best estimates (e.g. number of volunteers).

We’ve tried our best to ensure consistency and context. For example, we’ve used methods that standardize for city size (e.g., hectares of parkland per 1,000 people). In cases where there are important influencing factors that affect the data, we’ve noted these directly on the City Profile for transparency.

Definition refinements

Ensuring common definitions has been another challenge. In fall 2021, we initiated a consultation process to gather feedback about improving the report through one-on-one interviews with city staff. Through this process, we heard a desire for greater clarity and specificity in some definitions, including parkland categories and budgets, and revised them accordingly. All participating cities had the opportunity to review and comment on proposed definition changes before they were implemented.

As a result of these definitional changes, some data may not be directly comparable year-over-year.

Public survey demographics

For the public survey, the distribution of respondents across sociodemographic variables is worth noting: 75% identified as women, 52% were between the ages of 30-54, and 81% were white. This means that these demographics are overrepresented when compared to the general Canadian population.

If you have a suggestion or a comment, please get in touch.

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