Nature

Parks improve resiliency and contribute to the ecological integrity of our environment, creating opportunities for people to connect with urban nature.

West Eau Claire Park - City of Calgary

West Eau Claire Park, City of Calgary

Vision

Close your eyes and think of a park. What do you see? Chances are it’s green. Parks are, above all else, urban natural spaces—and there’s a growing desire from residents for even more naturalized experiences.

As our environment shifts from climate change and urbanization, parks are thrust to the forefront of building more resilient cities, and ensuring the ecological integrity of the systems we depend on for food, clean air, water, and moderate temperatures.

A 2019 report from Environment and Climate Change Canada found that Canada is warming faster than the global average—twice as fast. We can expect weather to become even more extreme, with more instances of heavy rainfall and heat waves. Sea levels will rise on all coasts, especially in Atlantic Canada.

Effects of this are already being felt in park systems across the country, from flooding to fires. Calgary’s devastating 2013 floods caused over $400 million in damage, flooded waterfront parks in Oakville cost nearly $4 million in 2017, and the same year Toronto shut down its popular Toronto Islands due to flooding. In the spring of 2019, we saw major floods across Quebec and Ontario.

Key challenges lie ahead in protecting biodiversity and safeguarding our communities from the ravages of extreme weather. This is putting increasing pressure on already stretched budgets. The good news? We have examples of how cities are investing in new parks to mitigate these effects, restore habitat, and protect biodiversity.

Meet 'n Bleet - City of Red Deer

Meet 'n Bleet - City of Red Deer