Rouge River

The Greenbelt protection has extended to 21 major urban river valleys and 7 coastal wetlands across the Greater Golden Horseshoe - including Rouge River and some of it's tributaries: Berczy Creek, Bruce Creek, Robinson Creek, Mount Joy Creek, and Morningside Creek! 

The addition of these waterways to the Greenbelt is an important recognition of the vital role the Greenbelt plays in protecting the hydrological features we rely on for clean drinking water, flood protection, and healthy ecosystems.

Rouge River and it's tributaries are 113 km long and they flow from Richmond Hill, Markham and Stouffville into Lake Ontario. Every 5 years Toronto and Region Conservation Authority releases a report card to assess the health of the Rouge River Watershed. Grades around urbanized areas typically decline because of reduced natural vegetation and hard surfaces, such as roads and roofs. Protecting the urban river valleys is very important for our communities health. 

Top facts about the Rouge River:


Decades of urbanization and population growth has placed the river's natural features and functions under stress. The natural systems of the Rouge River are not functioning at the level they should, and they require more restoration measures to address existing issues.


The Rouge River watershed is home to Canada's first national urban parkRouge National Urban Park is 23 times larger than Central Park in New York!


Rouge River has some of Canada's oldest known Indigenous sites. Including a rare Haudenosaunee site located at the mouth of the Rouge River that has never been fully excavated. 


Surface water and groundwater quality ranges from excellent to very poor. The excellent grades can be found in areas that are less urbanized and have more natural cover. These areas are healthier and better suited to clean our water.


Forest cover is poor in the Rouge River watershed. Ensuring consistent forest cover is very important since forests clean our air, store carbon and moderate temperatures. 

Want to learn more?

Right now, we are working with community groups, municipalities and organizations across the Greenbelt to ensure the urban river valleys and the Greenbelt remain healthy for generations to come.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has produced extensive research about the Rouge River Watershed.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority organizes many events to help you learn more about the watershed, or you could check-out our events page.