From a landfill to a signature park: Vaughan CARES helped pave the way for North Maple Regional Park
June 13, 2022
Today, at a special event at North Maple Regional Park (NMRP), the City of Vaughan celebrated the historic achievements of Vaughan CARES -- officially known as the Vaughan Committee of Associations to Restore Environmental Safety. This group was instrumental in the closure of the Keele Valley Landfill, which paved the way for the creation of the city’s signature park.
To show gratitude for Vaughan CARES’ extensive efforts, Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Members of Council took part in a commemorative ceremony this afternoon at NMRP. Representatives from Vaughan CARES and members of the community were also in attendance. The event included a ceremony, official remarks, a plaque unveiling, tree planting and naming the main road leading into the park as “Vaughan CARES Way.” A Vaughan CARES’ collection of memorabilia was also on display. Learn more about the event at vaughan.ca/events.
Located at 11085 Keele St., NMRP is a milestone development for both the City and the community. At 364 hectares (900 acres), including 80 hectares (178 acres) of parkland, it is the City's most ambitious park plan yet and will be larger than New York City's Central Park once complete. It is now a destination of choice for residents and visitors alike. Visit vaughan.ca/NMRP for more information about NMRP’s development.
More about Vaughan CARES
In 1988, Vaughan CARES was established as an umbrella association of ratepayers, environmental groups, community activists and concerned residents to spearhead initiatives to close the Keele Valley Landfill. This landfill was located at the intersection of Keele Street and McNaughton Road in Maple and was the largest landfill in Canada and the third-largest in North America at one time. This was the main landfill site for the City of Toronto and the municipalities of York and Durham from 1983 to 2002.
From 1996 to 2000, Vaughan CARES organized and participated in numerous public hearings, delegations and demonstrations at Queen’s Park, the City of Toronto, the landfill site and other locations -- all to oppose the expansion of the Keele Valley Landfill and advocate for new environmental policies and sustainable waste management strategies. The group’s mission was to protect the environment, the Don River and the health of Vaughan residents.
In 2002, with support from the City of Vaughan, Vaughan CARES organized a historic closure event of the Keele Valley Landfill engaging thousands of residents. Since 2003, Vaughan CARES has continued to advocate for the rehabilitation of the land and the creation of NMRP.
The creation of North Maple Regional Park
In 2018, Council expanded the NMRP plan by including the former Keele Valley Landfill, Vaughan Township Landfill and wooded valley lands in a 364-hectare (900-acre) vision. NMRP is located on the Oak Ridges Moraine and the source of the Don River -- the site’s environmental significance plays a key role in the park’s vision. Later that year, 80 hectares (197 acres) of NMRP opened to the public with:
In December 2021, in honour of Vaughan CARES’ achievements, Vaughan Council approved (PDF) the naming of the NMRP roadway as “Vaughan CARES Way,” a commemorative plaque be placed in NMRP and the installation of story panels that capture the group’s key milestones throughout their campaign.
Now in 2022, the next phase of the park’s development (PDF) is in motion. It will prepare 52 hectares (130 acres) for future development of new recreational facilities and amenities. Work includes:
Environmental restoration is also a priority in this work. It includes removing current trees, grasses and shrubs which will be replanted in a way that improves the ecosystems onsite. All work is being done in co-ordination with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.