Photo: Canadians: More urban than you think?

(Credit: saltyseadog via Flickr)

By Faisal Moola, Director General, Ontario and Northern Canada

Who do you think is more urban: Canadians, Brits or Germans?

Despite being a vast nation of forests, fields, lakes and ice, Canada has officially become one of the most urban countries on earth. According to the World Bank, almost 82 per cent of Canadians now live in urban communities — jumping from less than 70 per cent in 1960. This makes us one the world's 50 most urban nations — ahead of many western European countries like United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.

As a consequence of the rapid growth of our communities, we continue to consume some of the best of the natural world closest to home — our few remaining wetlands, farmlands and forests. As a consequence, opportunities to experience nature nearby are becoming increasingly rare for millions of Canadians.

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This is part of the reason I am making a deputation today to the federal government's Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development about urban conservation practices in Canada.

I am going to tell the Committee that we need their help to connect Canadians with nature in their everyday lives, and to bring more nature to the city. This means helping to protect and enhance our remaining natural spaces and promoting green infrastructure. It also means engaging in new projects that bring nature to the city, like establishing Canada's first urban National Park in the Greater Toronto Area and wrapping protected greenbelts around growing urban areas like Montreal and Vancouver.

October 30, 2012

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