As pandemic restrictions are eased across Canada, city dwellers continue to flock to green spaces: now more than ever, equitable and inclusive access to urban parks is essential to the quality of life in Canadian cities. Our foundation is honoured to support Park People as they work to foster the type of programming and community engagement that aligns with our mission, by supporting healthy ecosystems, and the collective well-being of all Canadians.
This fourth annual Canadian City Parks report synthesizes some of the lessons learned from the global pandemic, along with data collected from over 3,000 Canadians who participated in an online survey. The results shed light on current trends, opportunities, and challenges, and the report recommends adopting human-centred design to bring people together. The value of nature stewardship is a key takeaway—with so much time spent in green spaces, Canadians are eager to give back. There is also a more pronounced strategic focus on protecting and restoring biodiversity, and initiatives around reciprocity and new directions for Indigenous representation.
Investing in relationships is especially significant after so much time spent apart. Parks are wonderful communal spaces, and a vital connective thread for relationships between friends, family, community, and nature. As you will read, Park People are taking a proactive approach to prioritizing and reimagining our urban green spaces to ensure they are inclusive and accessible to all—but there is still much to learn.
My overall sentiment as we emerge from the pandemic is one of cautious optimism. This report left me with a sense of excitement at the possibility of positive systems change as we navigate ongoing challenges. Investing in innovation and learning will lead to transformation and deliver measurable impacts to the well-being of all Canadians. Thank you to the team at Park People for creating this annual snapshot of the state of Canada’s city park system, we all benefit from your incredible planning and dedication. We would also like to thank the constellation of contributors, volunteers, and staff from coast to coast to coast who shared stories, experiences, and data. The report itself is an incubator for momentum and growth, and we are thrilled to be a part of the network of relationships that evolve from this collaborative process.
Emma Adamo, Chair, Weston Family Foundation