Some of the world’s largest city parks are situated in Canada. This northern country's largest city park, the North Saskatchewan River Valley Park System, is North America’s fifth-largest city park and the world’s 11th largest urban park. Many of Canada's vast city parks are managed by Parks Canada. These parks are not only crucial for leisure activities, but also in the safeguarding of wildlife inhabiting the parks, including some vulnerable and endangered species.
The Top 3 Largest City Parks in Canada
1. North Saskatchewan River Valley Parks System
One major river that crosses the city of Edmonton, Alberta is the North Saskatchewan River. Along its banks is a chain of city parks which are collectively known as the North Saskatchewan River Valley Parks System. The park covers an area of 7,284 hectares, and as is one of North America’s largest city parks, it is the largest in Canada. There are 11 lakes and 22 ravines in the North Saskatchewan River Valley Parks System. Some facilities found in the park system include the Fort Edmonton Zoo, Gold Bar Park, Forest Heights Park, and the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Hiking, golfing, skiing, and skating are among the popular activities in the park system. The park is home to a thriving ecosystem, comprised of hares, deer, skunks, and porcupines.
2. Rouge National Urban Park
The city of Toronto, Ontario is home to one of the country’s largest city parks, the Rouge National Urban Park. The park covers an area of over 5,000 hectares, making it the second-largest city park in Canada. The park has great cultural and historical significance to the city as it is home to one of the earliest Indigenous sites in Ontario. The park is also an essential habitat to many animal species, with woodchucks, bald eagles, red foxes, moles, swans, ducks, river otters, bats, and raccoons being some of the animals found in the park. Many hiking tracks cut across Rouge National Urban Park, making it a popular hiking destination in Ontario.
3. Oldman River Valley Parks System
The Albertan city of Lethbridge has eight interconnected urban parks found along the Oldman River which are known as the Oldman River Valley Parks System. The park system cumulatively covers an area of 1,618 hectares. Some of the constituent parks include Popson Park, Indian Battle Park, and Cottonwood Park. Pedestrian trails stretch for miles through the park, with the main trail being the Coal Banks Trail. Golfing, hiking and nature walks are some of the fun activities available in the Oldman River Valley Park System. Snakes, porcupines, cranes, hawks, deer, rabbits, and numerous plant species make up the park’s biosphere.
The proximity of city parks to large cities is what makes them special. However, the closeness of the natural landscape to the vast concrete jungles makes them prone to forms of pollution. Many of Canada’s large city parks have golf courses within them, and these golf courses have been pointed out as a source of pollution due to the pesticides and fertilizers used to nourish the grass. Vehicle emissions are other pollutants experienced in the city parks and particularly in the Rogue National Urban Park, which has a busy highway cutting through the park.