Rouge Express

Free Shuttle Service to Rouge National Urban Park

30 km from downtown toronto
30 minutes
school bus

Ticket Prices

  • First-come, first-served free seats on all buses
  • Advance free seat reservations available with $5.00 refundable deposit
  • Parks Canada programming free for everyone!







Canada 150 Rouge Express Service is now done for 2017.
We want to say a huge thank you to our partners who made this possible. We are working hard to bring the service back for 2018!



2017 Schedules (July 1 - October 22)

Day Date Comments Destination
Sat July 1 Canada Day activities, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun July 2 Canada Day Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Mon July 3 Canada Day Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat July 8 National Historic Sites Day, explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sun July 9 Explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat July 15 Parks Day activities, explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sun July 16 Explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat July 22 Explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun July 23 Explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sat July 29 Explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun July 30 Explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sat Aug 5 August Long Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun Aug 6 August Long Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Mon Aug 7 August Long Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat Aug 12 Explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun Aug 13 Explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sat Aug 19 Explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun Aug 20 Explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sat Aug 26 Taste of the Trail Rouge North (Markham)
Sun Aug 27 Explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat Sep 2 Labour Day Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat Sep 3 Labour Day Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Mon Sep 4 Labour Day Weekend activities, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat Sep 23 Art Day in the Rouge, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun Sep 24 Explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sat Oct 7 Fall Walks Festival, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun Oct 8 Fall Walks Festival, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Mon Oct 9 Fall Walks Festival, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sat Oct 14 Fall colours, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun Oct 15 Fall colours, explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)
Sat Oct 21 Fall colours, explore on your own Rouge South (Zoo Road)
Sun Oct 22 Fall colours, explore on your own Rouge North (Markham)


Departure Times

  • Toronto to Rouge
  • Toronto Departure #1 at 8:30 AM
  • Toronto Departure #2 at 11:00 AM

  • Returns to Toronto
  • Park Departure #1 at 12:30 PM
  • Park Departure #2 at 2:30 PM
  • Park Departure #3 at 4:30 PM

  • One way travel time is 30 to 45 minutes










Frequently Asked Questions

What is "Rouge North" and "Rouge South"

"Rouge South" is our acronym for the southern stop that we offer at the Parks Canada Welcome Area near the Toronto Zoo. "Rouge North" is the northern point, right at Bob Hunter Memorial Park (part of Rouge National Urban Park) in Markham.

Can I purchase food or get water in Rouge National Urban Park?

To help plan for a great day in the park, please ensure you bring with you lots of extra water, snacks, lunch, sunscreen and bug spray. There are very few amenities near the park, and facilities in the park are currently limited.

What do I need to bring with me?

In addition to food, water and snacks, we recommend that you bring what you need to spend the day outdoors, dress for the weather and wear closed toed footwear. Check the weather forecast before you come and consider bringing rain gear with you just in case.

Why did you pick 30 Carlton Street as pick-up location in downtown Toronto?

30 Carlton Street is one of a few centrally located designated Motorcoach / Bus Loading Areas that is close to the subway (College Subway Station), not too far from users of TTC Line 2 (2 stops away from Bloor interchange), 4 stops away from Union Subway station. There is a supermarket in the area and a roof covering waiting area. It is also the most popular pick-up point for Parkbus, tried and tested over the last seven years of operations.

Why is there only one pick-up point?

With first-come, first-served model, we can only offer one pick-up point, because otherwise anyone waiting for the bus at a second or third point may come very early, and yet still find a full bus arriving.

We also considered offering buses departing from date-specific locations, but decided against it to minimize the chances of confusion. We are open to offering more pick-up locations in the GTA in the future, however.

Can anyone board the bus for free?

Yes. As long as there is space. Most seats can be reserved online, although few seats are always left for walk on passengers on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is it possible to reserve seats in advance?

Most seats on each bus can be reserved in advance with a refundable credit card deposit (deposit is refunded as long as you show up). We do this to enable someone to plan a trip in advance and make sure there is a seat waiting for them. We also set aside a limited number of “walk on” seats for each departure on a first-come, first-served basis (but we recommend you reserve your seats online in advance).

Is it possible that there will be no seats coming back? Will I get stuck in the park?

For every 2 departures from the city, we will have 3 corresponding returns, and there are no reservable seats on the last return bus - so the chances of a full return bus, especially as a last bus are very, very low. It is however possible, in which case we way offer an extra 4th return. If you miss the last bus which still has empty seats, we will not be able to assist you in returning from the park, in which case you will have to rely on a taxi or a combination of walking and regional transit.

Are your buses wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately not currently due to costs - accessible vehicle are significantly more expensive, which would only allow us to offer one third of the dates we can currently offer with a school bus. We may offer a special run for persons with limited mobility by chartering an accessible vehicle if there is interest. Please contact us if you think you would benefit from this service.

What kind of buses do you use? Is there is washroom / AC on board?

We use school buses for this route, which have no washroom and no AC. While they are less comfortable than motorcoach buses (which we use on Parkbus overnight destinations such as Algonquin), they also cost a fraction of what a motorcoach does cost, allowing us to triple the number of days of operation available.

Will this service operate beyond October 2017?

We are currently looking for sponsors that may be interested in supporting this service beyond October 2017. We are also collecting statistics that will hopefully be helpful to the transit authorities to improve transit connections to areas that we serve.

Do I have to participate in Parks Canada events if I take the bus?

No you are free to explore the park on your own. Please adhere to Leave No Trace principles - leave only footsteps, take only photos, don’t venture off trails, and don’t miss your bus back. You are however may be missing out on some amazing once-in-a-lifetime programming offered as part of Canada 150 celebrations! We invite you to check in at the Parks Canada Welcome Tent (if available) on your arrival to learn more about what’s happening in the park.

Are pets allowed on board?

Under strict conditions yes. They must be muzzled at all times, or completely in a carrier. If your pet makes a mess, you are responsible for cleaning it up. Only one pet is allowed per adult pet owner.

Does the bus go to the same location every day?

No! Rouge National Urban Park is a huge area spread across multiple municipalities. On some days, the bus will take you to the Parks Canada Welcome Area near the Toronto Zoo, and on some days the bus will go to the Bob Hunter Memorial Area in Markham. Both options offer great hiking and picnicking opportunities.

Can we bring bikes or strollers?

We use a school bus for this route, and unfortunately there is no space for bikes. Folding strollers may work, if they fold really well - if you are coming with a folding stroller, be sure to show up early to be the first one on the bus.

Who designed your awesome bus wrap?

Thank you, we love the wrap as well! Local Toronto designer Alexandra Pokras created the wrap, and also had an amazing idea to leave the blank space for passengers to write right on the wrap! You can get in touch with Alexandra through LinkedIn.

Who funded this service anyways?

The service is funded primarily by TD Bank Group as part of their TD Common Ground project. Additional funding comes from Parks Canada as well as Mountain Equipment Coop. If your organization is interested in becoming a sponsor to help us extend this important service beyond October, please get in touch!