When you are a newcomer the first months you spend in Canada can be a very busy and stressful time. Migratory process, settlement, finding a place to live, searching for a job or learning a new language are some of the challenges you face when you arrive in Canada. All this in an environment full of traffic, tall buildings, fast-changing weather and an intimidating city.
The Greenbelt Foundation’s Research & Policy team lead a group of newcomers/TDSB’ students into Rouge National Urban Park. We walked the Woodland Trail, a 4.5km roundtrip, through the woods alongside the Little Rouge Creek. For some of the students and the staff, it was their first time in the Greenbelt!
It’s important that along a road of obstacles newcomers have the chance to connect with nature and all it has to offer. We enjoyed the landscape with beautiful native plant species and even had the chance to have a relaxing picnic in the middle of the park.
Students and staff enjoyed feeling the cool air coming from the creek and listening to its rushing waters. The only sad part for the visitors is that they didn’t get to see a beaver. But the butterflies, mosquitos, snails, and dragonflies where enough wildlife to start with!
I came from a country where nature plays a big role in society. You have tons of forest, greenspaces, animals and beautiful places to visit. When you come here you disconnect completely from the country side and nature, because all of your life happens in the city and you are busy all the time. It feels great to get to know the Greenbelt for the first time and have the opportunity to get away from the city and your phone signal. It’s important to get to know your new home, and not only think about it as a place to live and work, but also a place to protect and nurture.
Into the Greenbelt is a project of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, in partnership with Park People and regional Conservation Authorities to bring New Canadians, individuals from underserved communities and children from the Boys and Girls Club of Canada into Ontario’s Greenbelt for fun, educational day trips. Click here to find out more about the program, itineraries and how you can apply for a bursary to help fund your trip!
Juan joined the Greenbelt Foundation team in 2018 with more than five years of experience in Research and Policy in the Public Sector. He holds a degree in Political Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Government, Management, and Public Affairs.