CONSTRUCTION NOTICE: There will be some trail access restrictions in effect until summer 2024 while construction is underway. Different areas of the park may be closed to the public with on-site signage and fencing. We please ask that all park visitors exercise caution and respect the construction signage, fencing and barriers, and avoid entering areas under construction. Check back regularly for project updates and more information.
North Maple Regional Park (NMRP) is a milestone development for both the City of Vaughan 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.
The 900-acre site is formed by a collection of contiguous land parcels that include Keele Valley Landfill Site, Vaughan Township Landfill Site, former Avondale lands, adjacent woodlots and valley lands, and a smaller portion of sites that were purchased or expropriated to form the Keele Street frontage.
From the largest landfill in Canada to Vaughan’s most significant park – how did NMRP come to be?
1983 to 2002: The Keele Valley Landfill
The Keele Valley Landfill, located at the intersection of Keele Street and McNaughton Road in Maple at 11085 Keele St., was once the largest landfill in Canada and the third-largest in North America. Owned and operated by the City of Toronto, it was the main landfill site for Toronto and the regional municipalities of York and Durham from 1983 to 2002. Prior to becoming a landfill, the site was a gravel pit that was purchased for approximately $40 million in the 1970s.
The Keele Valley Landfill contained a comprehensive gas collection system, which was installed at the beginning of 1985. This system was meant to reduce emissions and odours. In 1994, the project was expanded to include a $30-million power generation station, which created enough electricity to power 20,000 homes every year, even after the landfill closed.
While the landfill was originally built in a rural area, significant growth of the Maple community in the 1990s led to the site being surrounded by residential homes within the newly formed City of Vaughan. The landfill, and the almost 30-million tonnes of waste accumulated throughout its operation, contributed to the site being at capacity and merited its closing – along with the advocacy of local residents, including Vaughan CARES and the support of Vaughan Council.
1988: Vaughan Committee of Associations to Restore Environmental Safety (CARES) is established
In 1988, the Vaughan Committee of Associations to Restore Environmental Safety (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. The group’s mission was to protect the environment, the Don River and the health of Vaughan residents. 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.
1988 to 2003: Avondale Lands
The Avondale lands were formerly used as a holding/borrow site for the materials used to complete the cover for the Keele Valley Landfill. These works yielded a landscape dominated by significant landform variation. The Avondale lands were also used as a leaf mulching assembly and processing area by York Region once the Keele Valley Landfill was closed. The Avondale Composting Facility and borrowing pit was in operation from 1988 until approximately 2003.
1996 to 2000: Vaughan CARES advocates for landfill closure
From 1996 to 2000, Vaughan CARES continued to advocate for the closure of the Keele Valley Landfill, establish new environmental policies and advocate for new sustainable waste management strategies.
2002: Keele Valley Landfill closes
The Keele Valley Landfill officially closed its operations on Dec. 31, 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 the closure, Vaughan CARES has continued to advocate for the rehabilitation of the land and the creation of NMRP.
2003 to 2013: A vision for North Maple Regional Park is sparked
The original concept plan for North Maple Regional Park – known as the Maple Valley Plan – was created in 2003 and focused on a 200 acre site, formerly known as the Avondale Lands. The Development of this plan demonstrated Vaughan Council’s intent to give back to the residents of Vaughan after years of the landfill operations by transforming the land for future public use and enjoyment.
For the next 10 years, the City worked on property acquisition and land assembly to secure these first 200 acres for the future park. In 2013, through public consultation, the vision for the land was refined to create a signature park that would become a major destination for culture and recreation. Input received also identified potential for public and private partnerships to help the City execute the vision.
2013 to 2016: Phase 1 of North Maple Regional Park begins
After public input was received, the City conducted feasibility studies and developed plans that would become a catalyst for development of park facilities. Funding for Phase 1 of NMRP’s development was approved in 2015 and design began in 2016. Phase 1 scope of work included the detailed design and construction of two artificial turf soccer fields, a building providing various services, a temporary driveway and parking area and temporary trails throughout the park. Construction activities started in May 2017.
2018: Vaughan Council endorses park vision
In 2018, Vaughan Council endorsed an expanded vision for the park, which added 700 acres of land to NMRP – for a total of 900 acres of land – including the former Keele Valley and Vaughan Valley landfill sites. The purpose of the expanded park was to provide publicly accessible parkland and open space to the community while naturalizing the area – giving back to residents after years of landfill operations. NMRP is located on the Oak Ridges Moraine and the source of the Don River. The site’s environmental significance played a key role in the park’s vision.
2018: Phase 1 of park development is complete
Also in 2018, 80 hectares (197 acres) of NMRP opened to the public with the following facilities:
two FIFA-certified artificial turf soccer fields with built-in spectator seating
a variety of walking and hiking trails
a park pavilion, which includes a terrace, washrooms, changerooms and water fountains (opened in 2019)
picnic areas with shade shelters and seating
a toboggan hill
an asphalt parking area that accommodates 200 vehicles.
2021: Trail enhancements and expansion
In 2021, the City received funding from the federal and provincial governments to enhance and expand the trails in the park. Upgrades included paving some of the existing limestone trails with asphalt, replacing the Nevada Park Bridge, adding seating areas and planting trees. This work was completed in November 2022. Further trail and wayfinding signage are coming soon.
These trail improvements were funded by the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, and by the Government of Ontario.
2022: Phase 2 of park development begins
In 2022, Phase 2 of the park’s development began. Before new facilities and amenities can be built in the park, the site must be prepared – a series of activities referred to as “enabling works.” The enabling works included in Phase 2 of the park’s development will prepare 52 hectares (130 acres) for future programming, recreational facilities and amenities. This work includes:
site grading and stormwater management.
installation of underground services (water, storm, sanitary, electrical, gas and telecommunications).
reconstruction and extension of the current park roadway and creating a second park access from Keele Street.
environmental restoration, enhancement and connection of the existing pond, wetland and habitat areas.
- design of park amenities including a family recreation area for picnics, playgrounds, seating areas, special events area, cricket field and tobogganing area for winter use.
- consideration of potential partnership opportunities including reviewing the feasibility of the park becoming the future home of the National Soccer Training Centre.
- concept planning and grant funding submissions to support development of an Eco-classroom for environmental education activities and programs.
As part of this work, environmental restoration is a priority. This will include removing existing invasive trees, grasses and shrubs which will be replanted in a way that improves the ecosystems onsite. All work is being completed in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. During construction, some trails and park areas are closed to the public with on-site signage and fencing.
2022: The City honours Vaughan CARES’ contributions to NMRP
In December 2021, in honour of Vaughan CARES’ achievements, Vaughan Council approved the naming of the park’s main roadway as “Vaughan CARES Way.”
A commemorative ceremony was held in June 2022 to celebrate Vaughan CARES and its instrumental role in the official closure of the Keele Valley Landfill, which paved the way for the creation of NMRP. The event also included a plaque unveiling and tree planting.
2023: Present day
The park’s development continues! Now, in 2023, the City will begin the master planning process for this signature park – a major destination for active living, culture, nature and community-building. Through this process, the City will engage extensively with residents, business and stakeholders throughout Vaughan to confirm the park’s vision, long-term development goals, programming, facilities and management. Stay tuned for future engagement opportunities.