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March 19, 2024

Announcing a new collaboration between PaRx and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

VAUGHAN, ON, Tuesday, March 19, 2024: Beginning this spring, PaRx and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) are making it easier for people in the Greater Toronto Area to get outside to improve their health all year round.

Disc golf at Bruce's Mill Conservation Park. Photo supplied.

From cross country skiing to camping, geocaching to disc golf, hiking to horseback riding, and swimming to ziplining, TRCA parks and lands offer many ways to enjoy time outdoors.  Now, TRCA is offering patients with a PaRx prescription 20% off their individual TRCA Conservation Parks Membership Pass, which provides free general admission to all TRCA Parks, including Albion Hills, Boyd, Bruce’s Mill, Glen Haffy, Heart Lake, Petticoat Creek, as well as Black Creek Pioneer Village and Kortright Centre.

“We are proud to partner with PaRx to help provide access to our wide range of beautiful natural spaces, where people can spend time and benefit from a boost in physical and mental health,” says Richard Ubbens, Director, Conservation Parks and Lands at TRCA. “Our parks, extensive trails and lands offer a wide variety of experiences and activities that are great for visitors and vital for healthy communities.”

Dog walking at Boyd Conservation Park. Photo supplied.

PaRx, Canada’s national nature prescription program, connects people to nature for their health via nature prescriptions. Just like a traditional prescription for medication, regulated Canadian healthcare professionals can write personalized nature prescriptions for their patients that align with their lifestyle and outdoor interests, whether it be a trail walk, beach visit, or community gardening. As per the program’s evidence-based recommendation, just two hours a week, 20 minutes at a time, can make a significant difference, and importantly, any meaningful connection to nature counts.

“Growing up, spending time outside in the parks and green spaces of the Toronto region was incredibly important for my own health and wellbeing. I'm excited to see how our new collaboration will make life better and healthier for thousands of families across the GTA,” offers Dr. Melissa Lem, Director of PaRx.

Tree top trekking at Heart Lake Conservation Park. Photo supplied.

TRCA’s jurisdiction includes nine watersheds and their Lake Ontario shorelines, representing almost five million people, approximately 10% of Canada’s population. TRCA takes a lead role in conserving, restoring, and managing the region's natural resources. Importantly, connecting people to nature for health is a key piece of the puzzle to building resilient communities that support conservation and other environmental efforts.

“This is a critical decade for reversing climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as tackling mental health and chronic disease,” says Andy Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation. “Our goal is to connect families to nature in a deep, consistent and meaningful way as studies show that a connection to nature deepens one’s desire to protect it, as well as benefiting one’s own mental and physical health.”

Cycling at Albion Hills Conservation Park. Photo supplied.

Nature is becoming the fourth pillar of health, just as important for staying healthy as diet, exercise and good sleep. By providing better access to nature through innovative collaborations with trusted organizations like the TRCA, PaRx is improving both personal and planetary health, one prescription at a time.

The BC Parks Foundation invites other partners, governments and funders to engage and collaborate with PaRx as it continues its mission to connect people to nature for their health.


About the BC Parks Foundation and PaRx

As the official charitable partner of BC Parks, the BC Parks Foundation is leading an expedition to create the best park system in the world by working with you to protect, enhance and sustain our parks, while inspiring and connecting people to them. Based on a growing body of evidence that suggests that spending time in green spaces can have a wide range of mental and physical health benefits, the BC Parks Foundation launched PaRx in November 2020 to help health professionals improve patients’ health by connecting them to nature. In under three years, the program has launched in every province, registered over 13,000 healthcare professionals, and been endorsed by more than 100 major health and parks organizations. Through the generosity of operators like TRCA, as well as prior collaborations announced with organizations including Parks Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Toronto Zoo, PaRx has helped make nature more accessible for thousands of Canadians.

As a world leader in the nature and health field, PaRx has been named a key partner in a €6.3million international project on nature-based therapies that will provide a roadmap for communities worldwide that seek to introduce nature as a health intervention. Other notable milestones for nature prescribing in Canada include PaRx’s recognition in 2021 by the World Health Organization as an effective way to inspire restoration and protection of nature for our health, and the inclusion of nature prescribing as official recommended policy for learners and physicians by the Canadian Medical Association in 2022.

To learn more about PaRx, visit www.parkprescriptions.ca.

About the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Since 1957, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), as enabled through the provincial Conservation Authorities Act, has taken action to enhance our region’s natural environment and protect our land, water, and communities from the impacts of flooding and increasingly extreme weather events – Ontario’s leading cause of public emergencies.

As the region’s first line of defence against natural hazards, TRCA maintains vital infrastructure and provides programs and services that promote public health and safety, protecting people and property.

TRCA mobilizes a science-based approach to provide sound policy advice, leveraging its position as a not-for-profit operating in the broader public sector to achieve collective impacts within our communities and across all levels of government.

To learn more about TRCA, visit trca.ca.

Media contacts:

BC Parks Foundation

Randene Neill


Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Afiya Jilani

Have a question for us? Get in touch.


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