Celebrate International Day of Forests

Tree Canada

Today we celebrate International Day of Forests, a day where people across the globe commemorate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

This year’s theme – Forests and health – reminds us to appreciate forests, both urban and rural, for the benefits they offer our health.

Did you know? Trees help us live longer, healthier lives. Exposure to nature reduces stress, speeds healing, and helps improve mental health. Research shows that walking through a forest for just 15 minutes can lower symptoms of anxiety and depression and boost positive moods.

That’s why Tree Canada has worked with partners and sponsors since 1992 to grow our urban canopy in communities across the country.

To mark this International Day of Forests, we’re highlighting three urban forests in Canada that have an enormous impact on the health of their local communities.

pedestrian path between water and trees

Stanley Park

Vancouver, BC

From an environmental perspective, what makes this park so valuable?

Stanley Park is a 400-hectare park located on the northern peninsula of Vancouver. Considered one of the best urban parks in the world, it provides valuable greenspace to the 2.5 million people that call metro Vancouver their home.

This urban rainforest is home to many different species of plants and animals. A few notable species include western red cedar, Douglas fir, and the pacific great blue heron.

From a social perspective, what makes this park so important to the local community?

Stanley Park is an urban oasis, offering many activities to get people outdoors. The Stanley Park Seawall path is part of the Seaside Greenway, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. Stretching 28 km, the Seaside Greenway is an urban trail for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists to enjoy. The park also offers many activities such as playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts and Canada’s largest aquarium.

What is Tree Canada’s relationship with the park?

In 2016, Tree Canada planted a ceremonial tree in Stanley Park, a western red cedar, in celebration of National Tree Day.

Explore Stanley Park

People sitting in a park beside trees

Mount Royal Park

Montréal, Québec

From an environmental perspective, what makes this park so valuable?

Mount Royal Park is a massive expanse of luscious green in the middle of a bustling city, with neighbourhoods and much of the city’s geography oriented in relation to “the mountain”. The park boasts more than 90 species of trees, 180 species of birds and 700 species of vascular plants, some of which are endangered. As described by Tourism Montréal, it is “a magnificent urban green space featuring 200 hectares of astonishing biodiversity and natural beauty.”

From a social perspective, what makes this park so important to the local community?

Mount Royal Park is an unavoidable landmark on the island. It boasts forest trails, lookout points, grassed areas for picnics and sports, the oldest cemetery in Montréal and much more. No matter the season or the weather, there’s always something to see and do on the mountain.

In 2005, the Québec government designated the mountain as a Historic and Natural District. The decree stated that Mount Royal “represents, in a historical context, a territory that allows contact with natural environments featuring various plant and animal species while providing areas conducive to leisure and relaxation.”

What is Tree Canada’s relationship with the park?

Tree Canada has been fortunate to organize many planting events on the mountain, most notably during annual National Tree Day community events. These events are hosted in partnership with Les amis de la montagne, a local non-profit organization that protects, improves and promotes the sustainability of Mount Royal Park through advocacy, community involvement, environmental education and stewardship.

Explore Mount Royal Park

women walking on bridge

Rouge National Urban Park

Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario

From an environmental perspective, what makes this park so valuable?

The Rouge National Urban Park, managed by Parks Canada, is the largest urban park in North America. It was designated as a National Urban Park – the first of its kind in Canada – in 2015 and protects a large corridor of greenspace in the City of Toronto and the municipalities of York and Durham. It is also the first federally protected area in Canada to protect agriculture, nature and cultural heritage. Two-thirds of the park consist of agricultural land, which provides an important source of locally grown food.

Following the watershed of the Rouge River and valley, the park boasts over 1,700 species, including 40 mammal species, 261 bird species, and 1000 plant species!

From a social perspective, what makes this park so important to the local community?

The Rouge National Urban Park is a “people’s park”. It provides strong linkages and extensive corridors for GTA residents to connect with nature. The park offers activities and experiences for everyone to enjoy, including guided walks, paddling on the river and marsh, photographing migrating birds and picnicking.

Explore Rouge National Urban Park


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