Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Environment Minister Peter Kent were in Toronto on Friday with a special announcement for Scarborough’s Rouge Valley Park.

“We’re creating Canada’s first national urban park in the Rouge Valley,” Flaherty said.

The federal government pledged up to $100 million in funding to transform Rouge Valley into a national park in the 2012 budget, but Flaherty said Friday even more money was in the pipeline.

“The Harper government will be providing over $140 million over the next 10 years and over $7.5 million ongoing to bring to fruition the dream of a ‘people’s park’ in the GTA.”

The director of the David Suzuki Foundation said he “cautiously” welcomed the funding announcement.

“The funding is an important step…However, we remain concerned that the federal government is at the same time weakening environmental laws and laying-off key scientists and technical staff whose expertise will be necessary to ensure that Canada’s protected areas don’t become merely “paper parks,”" Dr Faisal Moola said.

The Foundation noted that Rouge Valley is only 100 kilometres away from 20 per cent of Canada’s population.

Parks Canada, which Kent oversees, will take over the management of the green space.

“This is a chance of a lifetime to be part of something innovative that will leave a lasting legacy; to work together towards building something very special,” Kent said.

“I encourage all Canadians, especially those located in the GTA, to get involved, to provide their input and to be a part of making history here in our great nation.”

At 47 square kilometres (11,500 acres) Rouge Valley is Toronto’s largest park, and is 13 times larger than New York’s Central Park.