At 9 AM on a Tuesday morning, a large group of women and children stood excitedly outside of a Shopper’s Drug Mart on the Danforth Avenue. Some watched on as the bus driver carefully loaded baby strollers through the back of a bright yellow school bus. Curious passersby might have been given a clue to their destination from the myriad of brightly coloured jackets, hiking shoes, and day-packs that decorated the group - likely a result of MEC’s handy resource, the Guide to Day Hiking.
Excited chatter filled the aisles of the bus as the group journeyed up the Don Valley Parkway, leaving behind the concrete grey of downtown Toronto to experience the explosion of colour waiting for them at Rouge Park. Upon arrival, the group was greeted by Parks Canada staff that would lead them through two activities: How to Build a Camp, and a nature walk down one of the trails.
For most, it is their first experience visiting a large, provincial or national park in Canada - and for many, it was the first time visiting a park of that size in their life. People from at half a dozen different countires enthusiastically learned about the wildlife in the Rouge, what you need to build a camp, and how to read maps and trails.