This proposal notice was updated November 2, 2023 to advise the public that additional support materials were added. This does not change our proposal.
This consultation was open from:
October 19, 2023
to December 3, 2023
Ontario is proposing to create a new provincial park (recreational class) in the Township of Uxbridge under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006.
This proposed park would provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy the area’s natural beauty, while strengthening the long-term protection of biodiversity and important habitat.
Ontario is making progress on its commitment to provide families with more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, including exploring opportunities to improve access to greenspaces within our world-class provincial park system throughout the province.
To support this commitment, we surveyed the people of Ontario about:
- our proposal to create Ontario's first urban provincial park near Uxbridge
- what people thought about urban provincial parks, in general.
We received an overwhelming 4200 responses, and approximately 75% support creating an urban provincial park in the Township of Uxbridge.
Overview of the proposed provincial park
As a next step, we are proposing to create Ontario’s first urban provincial park (recreational class) in the Township of Uxbridge.
This proposed provincial park in the Oak Ridges Moraine would include provincially owned properties, totalling up to approximately 532 hectares (1,315 acres). The proposed park is 25 kilometers east of Newmarket and 50 kilometers northeast of Toronto (see map). The proposed park would include multiple, disconnected parcels of land.
This proposed park will provide opportunities for the public to enjoy the area’s natural beauty, including hiking and other sustainable activities, while strengthening the long-term protection of biodiversity and important habitat for species at risk.
If regulated under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006 (PPCRA), the provincial park could:
- provide the Township of Uxbridge and surrounding communities with more opportunities to benefit from natural spaces close to home
- help protect vulnerable ecosystems and promote biodiversity in southern Ontario’s greenspaces.
Establishing and classifying Ontario's provincial parks
Ontario’s provincial parks are established and regulated under the PPCRA. These spaces:
- protect sensitive and important places
- allow visitors to participate in environmentally responsible activities
- provide opportunities for visitors to increase their knowledge and appreciation of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage
- allow for research to take place
Provincial parks are also assigned one of the following classifications:
- nature reserve
- cultural heritage
- natural environment
The park classification system provides a structured approach to how parks are designed, planned, and managed. Different classes of parks contribute differently to the protected area system as identified in the PPCRA.
We are proposing that the new provincial park in the Township of Uxbridge be regulated as a recreational class park to provide a wide variety of compatible outdoor recreation opportunities in natural surroundings.
Proposed regulation change to protect lands in the Township of Uxbridge
In order to create this provincial park, we are proposing to amend Ontario Regulation 316/07: Designation and Classification of Provincial Parks under the PPCRA. The amendment will add a new schedule that will:
- list the provincial park’s name, classification and size
- describe where it is found
The sites meet necessary criteria for inclusion in Ontario’s protected areas system and we want to regulate them as a provincial park. While some areas have a higher level of disturbance, the 5 ecological criteria were evaluated and the sites:
- include several unique types of natural spaces that need protection
- contain important wetland areas and older-growth forest in good condition
- contribute to watershed protection and connectivity of the greater landscape
- contain significant features such as species at risk and a provincially significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest
If the lands are regulated as provincial park, many of the recreational uses currently taking place in the surrounding area would be able to continue. Uses will be determined through subsequent management planning processes which would include public and Indigenous consultation. Industrial and some commercial uses would be restricted in these areas.
At the same time, we are asking for suggestions on what to name the provincial park if a decision is made to move forward with the regulation amendment. Send your name ideas to the individual listed below.
To identify the full recreational and protection potential of an urban provincial park in this area, the province is working with:
- Township of Uxbridge
- Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
- Nature Conservancy of Canada
- Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
- Schad Foundation
- Regional Municipality of Durham
- Green Durham Association
The province will continue to work closely with the Indigenous communities regarding this proposal.
Regulatory impact analysis
There are no costs to regulated stakeholders and benefits to the people of Ontario and the environment are significant, including permanent protection of sensitive habitat and the enabling of environmentally sustainable land uses and recreational activities to continue.
There are no regulated stakeholders associated with this proposal and as such, they will not be subject to any financial costs.
Amending Ontario Regulation 316/07: Designation and Classification of Provincial Parks is the only way to meet the objective of creating the 532 hectare provincial park.
Other opportunities for public consultation
Direct notification of the project has been sent to Indigenous communities, stakeholders and adjacent landowners.
View materials in person
Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.
Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.
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