Connecting New Canadians with Nature

The following article originally appeared in the Spring/Summer issue of Canadian Wilderness magazine, a publication of CPAWS.

When Shivani arrived in Toronto from India in 2013 she volunteered with CPAWS Wildlands. Through this opportunity she learned a lot about her new country.  When we started our Learn to Paddle for youth as part of our annual Paddle the Rouge event, she enrolled her son Kevish.

Photo: Jacqueline C Waters for CPAWS Wildlands League
Kevish looks pretty happy with that paddle!

Kevish was nervous that first year, but by year two he was a real pro – relaxing with his feet up on the gunnels. This June he has volunteered to help other kids at Learn to Paddle. This experience helped Kevish build his confidence and share his love of Rouge Park with others. Shivani has become one of the greatest promoters, bringing more families each year through her testimonials.

In 2014, 29.1% of new permanent Canadians settled in Toronto, home to Rouge Park, soon to be Canada’s first National Urban Park. Amended legislation made Rouge NUP bigger, with better protections for its ecology.  It passed third reading in the House of Commons in February 2017.

With Paddle the Rouge we aim to grow the next generation of environmental leaders by connecting families to nature. By helping new Canadians connect with nature in their own backyard, we foster a love of wilderness on a grander scale. They become advocates for our work across Ontario and Canada.

What better gift to give a newcomer than a new skill with which to explore other parts of Canada?

Paddle the Rouge will be held Sunday, June 18, 2017 at Rouge Beach Park.