Launching the third annual Canadian City Parks Report

June 21, 2021

Park People

Today, we release Park People’s third annual Canadian City Parks Report.

In the report, we focus on how parks can foster more resilient, equitable cities—not only as we recover from COVID-19, but as we address another looming crisis: climate change.

Park use during the pandemic spiked across the country as people flooded into outdoor spaces to seek safe ways to connect with others, experience nature, and get some exercise. Parks became more important to Canadians in their daily lives, but cities also faced new challenges with rising demands and public health considerations.

The Canadian City Parks Report documents these trends and challenges by gathering key data and leading practices from across the country. Whether you’re city staff, a community volunteer, a funder, a non-profit organization, a park professional, or a resident who loves city parks, we hope this report provides you with useful data and stories that both inspire and challenge you.

In this report, you’ll find the results of our April 2021 COVID-19 and Parks survey of nearly 3,500 Canadians, interviews with a range of experts, as well as new data and practices from 32 participating Canadian cities. Stories and data are organized by section—Nature, Inclusion, Growth, Collaboration, and Activation—and city-specific data are available in City Profiles.

Among others, you’ll find stories and actionable take-aways on how cities can advance climate action through parks, how Black and Indigenous leadership can help reframe notions of park stewardship, and how we can deepen the intersection of public health and parks by taking into account cultural experiences.

You’ll also find a special section: Lessons From a Pandemic Year. This section dives deep into the ways COVID-19 impacted our park systems and our use of parks during the last year—both positive and negative—and the ways we can move forward together.

 

Key Findings

 

Parks saw high use and showed high value.

 

New challenges brought new ways of using parks.

 

Parks were recognized as critical public health infrastructure.

 

The equity gap was made clearer.

 

Climate action through parks is a growing priority.

 

There are two ways to read this report. It is available as an interactive website and as a downloadable PDF. The COVID-19 lessons, key insights, takeaways, and city data are included both online and in a downloadable PDF format. The stories—which share leading practices and interviews with city staff, researchers, and community leaders—are available exclusively on the website: ccpr.parkpeople.ca/2021.

 


 

Please also join us for a special webinar on Thursday, July 8 that will dive into the major findings of the report and our national survey on park use and COVID.

 


 

We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to The Weston Family Foundation for its foundational support in the creation and launch of this report.

 

 

We would also like to thank the RBC Foundation, Toronto Foundation, Maglin Site Furniture, and an anonymous donor for their support.

 

 


 

A report of this size is a team effort. First, huge thanks to the dozens of city staff that worked with us to compile city data, answer our questions, and respond to interview requests. We know this takes a tremendous amount of work and this report is not possible without you.

Lastly, thank you to the entire Park People team for their support and input.

Cover picture credit: Frankel Lambert Park Toronto, Adri Stark

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