This site uses cookies.

The types of cookies we use, and the way we use them, are explained in our Privacy Policy. By clicking "Accept" or continuing to use our site, you agree to our use of Cookies.
More information

Friday August the 23rd, 2019 
Cecilia Ramos
Mortgage Broker Lic. M008002669

Ultimate Mortgage and Finance Solutions Inc FSCO Lic 11995
Independently owned and operated
Cell (416)728-1562              Office (416)757-9957

Wild in the City - Rouge River

May 29, 2009 - Updated: August 1, 2013

Thank you for visiting By Cecilia Ramos

Click here for Quick Pre-Approval

The Rouge River is a two river system. Little Rouge and Rouge River are in the east and the northeast parts of Toronto and begin at the Oak Ridges Moraine near Richmond Hill. These rivers flow past:

At the southern end, the Rouge River system is the boundary between Toronto and southwestern Pickering. Rouge River empties into Lake Ontario.

Its original name in Iroquois was Katabokokonk.

The Rouge River is part of the Rouge Park is the largest urban park in North America. It is one of a few wilderness areas left in South-Central Ontario, and has been virtually untouched by development since the arrival of Europeans. While many exclusive homes and conclaves border this area on the southern tip, it is currently surrounded largely by agricultural land. It is even devoid of recreational development but sports a considerable network of walking or bicycle paths. Unlike other rivers in the Toronto area, is allowed to fill its entire flood plain on a regular basis rather than being forced through an artificial channel. However, parts of its watershed include the Toronto Zoo and the Beare Road Landfill.

In the former city of Scarborough, the Rouge was the "third rail" issue of municipal politics, and many minor candidates for mayor often ran on a platform to preserve it. However, since Scarborough was annexed into the city of Toronto, Toronto City Council has voted on occasion to allow development around the river.

Currently, there is a degree of abandonment in the area, of former farm lands, and historic houses. There also remains many historic houses which are still lived in, some even farmed. Research on Toronto's website listing its holdings of historic properties reveals over 20 historic buildings in the area, including Hillside PS, Scarborough's first schoolhouse, which sits across the street from a house built by the Pearse family in 1855.

Some Interesting Facts

Rouge Park is Canada's premier urban wilderness park. Over 47 km2 (11,500 acres) in size, it is protected park land in the Rouge River, Petticoat Creek and Duffins Creek watersheds, in and near Toronto, Canada's largest city.

The headwaters, or source, of the 250 km-long Rouge River system are in the Oak Ridges Moraine, an important geologic feature north of Toronto. The Rouge River and its tributaries flow south into Toronto, through the marshes at Rouge Beach, and empty into Lake Ontario.

  • Rouge Park is Toronto's largest park, and is already 13 times as big as New York's Central Park, or 33 times the size of London, England's Hyde Park.
  • Outcrops of rock formed during the last glacial period are found in Rouge Park and are important to geologists studying seismic activity, in particular the risk of earthquakes in the Toronto area. Faults are visible indicating significant earthquake activity between 80,000 and 13,000 years ago.
  • Rouge Park is home to the eastern arm of the Nationally Historic "Carrying Place" trail, which was an original portage route between Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe.
  • An active farming community is part of the legacy that Rouge Park preserves, protecting the only rural landscape and working farms in the City of Toronto.
  • The mouth of the Rouge River stays frost-free one month longer than northern areas of the river system on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
  • Rouge Park has the largest and best examples of Canada's rare Carolinian habitat in Toronto and is the only officially recognized site in the Toronto area.
  • Inspired by the scenery during the 1950s, FH Varley, one of Canada's renowned Group of Seven painters, captured the banks of the Rouge River in Markham on canvas as a lasting memory of their beauty.
  • Rouge Park's natural setting has provided filming locations for decades, posing as a backdrop for an array of landscapes, from the far north to the bayous of Mississippi. A Canadian filmmaker had a studio in the Park for many years, filming underwater beaver activity and simulating birds in flight.

Rouge Park is the only place where the Ontario Greenbelt reaches Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto.

Cultural History

The human history of Rouge Park goes back over 10,000 years. Palaeolithic nomadic hunters, Iroquoian women farmers, early European explorers, and the multicultural suburban population that you see around the Park today are all part of this history

Since humans began living in the area of the present Great Lakes-St Lawrence Lowlands in Ontario, many groups of people made the lands and waters now protected in Rouge Park their home.

The river and its valleys, uplands, forests and wetlands, along with the animal and plant species that lived here, sustained small nomadic groups, and later on larger, permanent settlements long before the rapid urbanization of the 20th century altered the landscape dramatically.

Palaeo Indian: 10,000 to 7000 BCE
The beginning of the Palaeo Indian period was marked by the retreat of glaciers from Southern Ontario 12,000 years ago. Archaeologists have learned that the people of this period lived as small nomadic tribes, following caribou herds, which they hunted in order to survive. The now extinct Mastodon also appeared to be a primary food source.

Lithic, or stone, artifacts from this time period, such as large scrapers and tools were used to process animals for food. Large spear points called "fluted points", referring to the channel removed from the face of the point to allow a shaft to be attached, have also been found.

Archaic: 7000 to 1000 BCE
The beginning of the Archaic period was marked by both environmental and technological change.

A warmer climate encouraged people to shift their hunting and food gathering habits to take advantage of lakeshore environments for fish, waterfowl and wild rice. Groundstone woodworking tools such as axes, adzes and gouges began to appear. Archaeologists have learned that the people of this time would have used these tools to manufacture dug out canoes.

There are 31 identified Archaic sites in Rouge Park, all of which are now located inland. During the Archaic period, the current shores of Lake Ontario would have been submerged by at least 20 meters from ancestral Lake Iroquois.

Initial Woodland: 1000 BC to 700 CE
Early on, the Initial Woodland period continued trends from the Archaic. Woodland people still remained in bands and were relatively nomadic in nature. However, a shift occured with the introduction of clay storage vessels and bow and arrow technology. Populations began to grow, causing the need for more permanent housing, which was used for longer periods during the year. Also during this time, ritualistic practices became more elaborate, one example would be the introduction of burial mounds. There are 8 identified Initial Woodland sites in Rouge Park.

European Contact: 1650 to 1800
Although the great explorer Samuel de Champlain came to this area as early as 1615, the first permanent European residence in the Toronto area was not recorded until 1669. A mission was established by Sulpician priests at the foot of the Rouge River arm of the famous "Toronto Carrying Place" trail.

Other notable explorers in the Great Lakes area were Father Jacques Marquette (1637-1675) and Louis Joliet (1645-1700). Marquette, a Jesuit priest often referred to simply as "Peré", French for father, was born in France and came to North America as a missionary. He became well known by the local First Nations peoples for his strong interest in their cultures, and learned many of their languages.

Born in New France, in what is now the province of Québec, Joliet left Montréal in his early 20s in search of furs, a trade route and adventures in the wilderness. He drew early maps of this area and is believed to have drawn the c.1680 map where the name "Toronto" first appeared.

Peré and Joliet together explored much of the Great Lakes area and as far South as the mouth of the Mississippi River.


National Historic Resources

Rouge Park is home to one National Historic Site and one National Historic Event, both of First Nations significance. We cooperate with the National Historic Sites Alliance of Ontario in the management of these resources.

Toronto Carrying Place
There are two National Historic resources in the Park. The Rouge River branch of the "Toronto Carrying Place" trail, is designated as a Canadian National Historic Event. This was an original portage route along the Rouge River to the Holland River, linking Lake Ontario in the south to Lake Simcoe to the north.

This route was created by First Nations peoples, and later used by early European fur traders, explorers and settlers. The Rouge River route is not currently marked for the general public, but the western branch of the route, following the Humber River, has an official federal plaque. The Toronto Carrying Place trail was designated by the Historical Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1969.

Bead Hill
An archaeological site with the remains of a 17th century Seneca Village are part of "Bead Hill", a National Historic Site. Designated by the Historical Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1991. The site is a sensitive archaeological area and is not open to the public at this time.

Glen Eagles Vista
One of the most spectacular vista points in Rouge Park, it is also the site of the former Glen Eagles Hotel. Interpretive signs there tell of past human habitation of the property and the Park area.

Non-native species of plants, or straight rows of trees often mark where old farms and orchards once were.

Many open fields and meadows were once farm lands, aggregate extraction pits, or cattle grazing areas.

Concrete pieces in streams are mostly remnants of old dams.

Large piles of stones, low stone walls or posts are usually all that's left of old houses, mills or other buildings.

Arts & Culture

Markham Museum
The Markham Museum is near Rouge Park in Old Markham Village. The Museum is a fascinating journey into the past, but Markham Museum isn't all about history. The Museum hosts exhibits about international history, science and the arts. Special events, such as "Applefest", celebrate the area's agricultural heritage. The historic church and outdoor pavilion are ideal for weddings and family or company picnics. Indoor rental space is also available.

Varley Gallery
The Varley Art Gallery is also near Rouge Park, on the banks of the Rouge River. Named after Frederick Horsman Varley, one of Canada's famed "Group of Seven" painters, Markham Varley Art Gallery is conveniently located in the historic village of Unionville, and is a focal point of the heritage district.

The Varley Gallery has changing exhibitions from the permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions from local, national and international sources. New ways of seeing and appreciating art are enhanced through dynamic, hands on art related activities, including group tours, school programs, courses, workshops and lectures appealing to audiences of all ages.

Needles to say

The Best hiking, bicycling, trails, skiing, and nature in ALL OF TORONTO.

For all of your Real Estate and Mortgage Needs please feel free to contact me anytime.  As always the referral of your family and friends is always appreciated.

Thank you,

Click here for Quick Pre-Approval

Cecilia Ramos  
Mortgage Agent M08002669
Argentum Mortgage & Finance Corp
Tel  (416)757-9957
Fax (416)757-9937
Cell (416)728-1562


Tagged with: hiking bicycling trails toronto bicycle trails toronto hiking trails wild in the city rouge river oak ridges moraine toronto nature toronto heritage toronto history scarborugh hiking scarborough bicycle trails toronto parks scarborough parks toronto skiing scarborough skiing varley markham museum
| | Share

Home  |  Top  |  Printer Friendly  |  +Bookmark  |  Privacy Policy
Powered by Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies (CMS6)