Creating new national urban parks

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Creating new national urban parks

The 2021 federal budget funded the creation of a network of up to six national urban parks by 2025.

Parks Canada is working closely with partners at six candidate sites across Canada to advance that commitment. Local partners include provincial and local governments, Indigenous governments and organizations, and other partners.

The process for designating national urban parks

Thumbnail link — The process for designating national urban parks

The process for designating national urban parks: Activities, outcomes and deliverables

The four steps below outline the process for designating national urban parks. The approach to each step will be flexible and informed by the local context.


  • Seek interest and support from local governments and other partners, including Indigenous governments and organizations
  • Co-develop engagement approach with Indigenous partners
  • Identify the study area(s) for the national urban park
  • Conduct site-specific studies
  • Explore considerations for vision, boundary, and governance
  • Conduct initial stakeholder outreach

Expected outcomes

  • Candidate site found to align with program objectives, with sufficient support from local partners to be feasible as a national urban park.


  • Pre-feasibility report published by Parks Canada (Represents Parks Canada’s conclusion that pre-feasibility is concluded and the project is ready to move into planning)


  • Develop a park vision
  • Determine governance model with partners
  • Refine study area to identify park boundary
  • Conduct stakeholder and public engagement
  • Prepare draft budget and identify priority investments
  • Begin initial operational planning

Expected outcomes

  • Agreement to proceed to negotiation


  • Summary of stakeholder and public engagement published
  • Budget and investment plan prepared in draft
  • MOU (non-binding) signed between Parks Canada and key partners (Represents a significant commitment to next steps and negotiating details)


  • Finalize proposal for the national urban park
  • Confirm roles of partners in governance of the national urban park
  • Secure operational funding from funding partners (e.g. federal government, other jurisdictions)
  • Develop operational plan

Expected outcomes

  • National urban park designated under National Urban Parks Policy


  • Operational plan completed
  • Funding confirmed
  • MOAs (binding) signed (to formalize national urban park partnership


  • Final operational preparations for the national urban park, may include implementing governance structure; designing facilities, amenities and programs; and initiating conservation activities
  • Begin operations of the national urban park, including development of infrastructure, staffing, development of management plan, and official opening

Expected outcomes

  • National urban park officially launched

Foundational investments

  • If applicable, may occur during Planning, Designation, or Implementation Phases
  • Pursue investments (e.g., land acquisition, restoration, infrastructure) in alignment with program objectives.

Governance of new national urban parks

Each national urban park will have its own governance model. The choice of governance model will be determined by the local context and in collaboration with partners.

Potential governance models may include:

  • federally administered places: national urban parks that are administered by Parks Canada. Rouge National Urban Park is an example of this approach
  • partnership models: national urban parks that are administered by a collaboration between Parks Canada and other partners
  • places administered by third parties: national urban parks that are administered by other governments or organizations, which may include municipal, provincial, or Indigenous governments, or other organizations

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