• Canoe the Rouge River in Rouge National Urban Park. (Photo: Bill Brooks/Alamy/All Canada Photos)

Canada’s first and only urban national park is about to get bigger — officially at least. Bill C-18, currently in its second reading in the Senate, adds 17 square kilometres of land to the Rouge National Urban Park Act, which will officially incorporate the land into the 79-square-kilometre protected area in the heart of Toronto.

The 17 square kilometres have been part of the park since 2015 but had never been federally recognized, a process that began when the House of Commons approved the bill in February. The bill, sponsored by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, sought to give that land the same protections as the remainder of the park, and prioritizes maintaining the park in its natural state.

The park has grown over the last six years, starting as just a few square kilometres before expanding into its current size. For more background and information on the park and its origins, read this feature from the July/August 2013 issue of Canadian Geographic.