Premier Officially Opens Bob Hunter Memorial Park
Expanding Protected Greenspace To Serve Ontario Families For Years To Come
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today officially opened a new 500-acre park in Markham dedicated to the late Bob Hunter, one of Canada's great ecological pioneers.
"The Bob Hunter Memorial Park will expand greenspace for Ontario families for years to come," said Premier McGuinty. "By extending stewardship of our natural spaces and creating a legacy for others to enjoy, this park is truly a fitting tribute to Bob's life work."
The park, named in honour of noted journalist and environmental activist Bob Hunter, adds 500 acres of environmentally sensitive land to Rouge Park. Previously, the Province donated more than 3,500 acres to the park, making it North America's largest natural park in an urban area. The park has been designated part of the provincial Greenbelt, 1.8 million acres of permanently protected greenspace in Ontario.
Bob Hunter was one of the founders of Greenpeace and a popular television broadcaster who covered environmental issues. He was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the "Eco-heroes" of the 20 th century.
Hunter's wife, Bobbi, and his four children joined the Premier for today's ceremony.
"Bob would be so very proud to have his name be recognized with this idyllic piece of the planet. He would hope that all of you would remember his example and carry on his work. He would want you all to work together to try to win our planetary battle against global climate change," said Bobbi Hunter. "This park is one example of how that battle can be won -- by protecting our precious green spaces, which play a pivotal role in keeping our climate balanced and our air clean."
In addition to donating provincially owned land, the McGuinty government is also providing $100,000 to the Town of Markham to survey and develop a management plan for the park area.
"By dedicating this parkland in memory of world renowned environmentalist Bob Hunter, we are building on our government's commitment to protecting greenspace while creating a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren," said Tony Wong, Markham MPP. "I encourage Markham residents and all Ontarians to visit the park and experience nature close to home."
"Bob Hunter was a naturalist who believed so much in the quality of nature, and to have this park named after him is certainly a credit to him and also to what Markham stands for," said Markham Mayor Don Cousens.
Premier McGuinty was also honoured today with the Rouge Park Alliance's top award. The award recognizes the Premier's outstanding contribution to the protection, enhancement and restoration of the Rouge Valley ecosystem.
Protecting environmentally sensitive land in the province is just one of the ways the McGuinty government is working on the side of Ontario families. Other initiatives include:
- Creating Ontario's Greenbelt, which protects 1.8 million acres of greenspace for families to enjoy for years to come
- Fighting air pollution by closing the coal-fired Lakeview Generating Station -- the equivalent of removing 500,000 cars from the roads
- Creating Toronto's first waterfront neighbourhood in the West Don Lands, a sustainable urban development that will kick start Toronto's waterfront revitalization with 23 acres of parks and public spaces, 1,200 affordable housing units and 4,600 market housing units, two childcare centres and access to public transit.
"I know the Rouge Valley was as special to Bob as he was to all of us -- and I think he'd be pleased to know that his work to protect it continues," said Premier McGuinty. "By building a clean, green and healthy Ontario for families, we're ensuring our province is the place to be for years to come."