Skip to content

5 revitalized urban greenspaces to help you connect with nature

Urban parks and trails are vital for those living near city centres. Here are our favourite new and upcoming greenspace projects.

Couple cycling along path in nature Image: parcjeandrapeau.com
Image: parcjeandrapeau.com

Published on May 16, 2022

Living in an urban area shouldn’t be an obstacle to enjoying the outdoors. 

Thanks to urban planners and landscape designers, parks and trails across Canada are being transformed and revitalized to meet the needs of their communities. These greenspaces don’t just help fight pollution and control temperatures, they’re also vital to our social and mental wellbeing. 

From a converted rail line to a space below an overpass, here are our favourite new urban greenspace projects that will help you connect with nature. 

Arial view of assiniboine park public gardens with visitors walking on path

Assiniboine Park – Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg’s massive urban park provides ample opportunity to connect with the natural environment, with the 700-acre Assiniboine forest, trails, sculpture garden, nature playground and much more. Assiniboine Park will also soon be home to Leaf, a large multi-seasonal horticultural attraction, which is scheduled to open later this year and will highlight the connection between plants and people. 

Two cyclists on a paved pathway surrounded by plants in an urban environment.

Arbutus Greenway – Vancouver, BC

In 2016, the City of Vancouver purchased an 8.5 km stretch of land from Canadian Pacific Railway to create an urban space for people to enjoy. The Arbutus Greenway is still in its early phase, with a temporary paved pathway that attracts thousands of people every day. Eventually, the railway will include segregated walking and cycling pathways, benches, public washrooms and extensive areas of native vegetation.

Arial shot of Parc Jean-Drapeau islands with beach and trees.

Parc Jean-Drapeau – Montreal, QC

Situated just east of downtown Montreal, Parc Jean-Drapeau comprises two islands in the Saint Lawrence River. Visitors can hike the trails through the islands, have a picnic surrounded by diverse flora or relax at the Jean-Doré Beach. Just last spring, the City announced major changes to the park over the next 10 years that will lead to more green spaces, increased waterfront access, Quebec’s first green urban bridge and more. 

Park space with garden and trees under overpass

Flyover Park – Calgary, AB

Calgary’s Flyover Park has reclaimed the forgotten space under an overpass between downtown and one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. The award-winning space — designed in collaboration with Grade 6 students — opened in 2021 and allows visitors to enjoy an active lifestyle and environmental learning year-round. The park includes unique play structures, murals and accessibility features, and helps connect the neighbourhood’s parks, gardens and bike lanes.

Arial shot of ravine trails

Toronto’s Ravine System – Toronto, ON

Covering more than 11,000 hectares, Toronto’s ravine system offers visitors a chance to connect with nature, while supporting their physical and mental well-being. A new project as part of the City of Toronto’s Ravine Strategy aims to enhance trails, access points and public programming in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. The Loop Trail — a collaboration between Evergreen, City of Toronto, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and other partners — looks to enhance trail connectivity throughout the city by creating a continuous 65-kilometre multi-use trail circuit. The project will also enhance public programming within the ravines, with community ravine hubs that will act as gathering points for social and cultural experiences. 

You can learn more about Evergreen’s work with the ravine system here.