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Humber the Focus of Toronto's Heritage River Ten Year Anniversary Celebration

Sep 18, 2009

Encompassing 903 square kilometres and home to 732,000 people, the Humber River watershed is the largest in Toronto and Region Conservation's (TRCA's) jurisdiction. On September 19th, City of Toronto celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Humber River's prestigious designation as a Canadian Heritage River, Canada's national river conservation program. The designation acknowledges the outstanding human heritage and significant contribution that the Humber River has made to the development of Canada.

"The 10th anniversary celebration acknowledges Toronto's heritage and serves as a reminder to us to continue to protect and restore the Humber River as one our natural urban treasures," said Gerri Lynn O'Connor, Chair, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority "We are coming together in the spirit of shared responsibility to honour the river, and the individuals, groups and agencies who share a common vision for a healthy Humber. You don't have to go far to appreciate nature when it's flowing here in Toronto's backyard."

The Humber River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River based on its unique human heritage. Once known as the Tkaranto River, the Humber River and the Toronto Carrying Place Trail helped give the city its name and initiated economic development in what has become the largest city in the country. The trail is one of the most ancient transportation routes in the province, used for centuries by the First Nations and Europeans for exploration, settlement and commerce. Out of the 41rivers currently in the Canadian Heritage Rivers System, the Humber is the only river in the Greater Toronto Area that has received this honour, and the only one with a subway stop along its route which makes it the most visible and accessible Canadian Heritage River in the system.  The Humber is in the company of other famous heritage rivers such as the Fraser, Athabasca, Arctic Red and Margaree.

"This anniversary is especially significant this year, as we celebrate the City's 175th anniversary," said Mayor David Miller. "Over the years, The Humber has played an important role in shaping Toronto's cultural history, economic prosperity and the quality of life for not only those living near its banks but all Torontonians."
Rivers included in the Canadian Heritage Rivers System have outstanding natural and/or cultural values and showcase the benefits and enjoyment of healthy river environments. Every river in the CHRS system has been designated because it strengthens Canadian identity and enables citizens to better understand, appreciate and celebrate the country's rich river heritage.

"Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Canadian Heritage Rivers System is a proven model of intergovernmental cooperation, succeeding in empowering communities and local citizens to be leaders in river stewardship. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, an integral partner of the CHRS, continues to provide this leadership through its outstanding recognition and care of the Humber River", stated Doug Stewart, Chair of the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board.

To complement the Humber River's 10th anniversary designation as a Canadian Heritage River, TRCA is launching a new hardcover book called Humber River: The Carrying Place. It contains a photo collection that illustrates the Humber River watershed with images of landscapes, plants and animals, places, people and activities seen in the watershed. The images were contributed by a number of private photographers, municipal archives and TRCA staff.

The book also contains short essays that describe the river, its past and the journey to become a designated Canadian Heritage River. Significant milestones in the history of the watershed are provided as is a short atlas that describes interesting facts and figures. The book can be purchased for $39.99 plus taxes and shipping through or at TRCA facilities including the Head Office, Black Creek Pioneer Village Gift Shop and Kortright Centre for Conservation. Profits will be directed to projects in the Humber River watershed to help protect and restore it.

The book will be launched at the 10th anniversary celebration event taking place September 19, 2009 in Étienne Brûlé Park in Toronto.

For event details please go to

Toronto and Region Conservation
With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at

City of Toronto
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. 

Canadian Heritage Rivers System
The Canadian Heritage Rivers System is Canada's national river conservation program. It promotes, protects and enhances Canada's river heritage, and ensures that Canada's leading rivers are managed in a sustainable manner. Responsible river stewardship is the ethic it engenders. Cooperation and public support are the strengths it builds upon. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, there are now 41 rivers within the Canadian Heritage River System across the country.


For media information contact:
Rowena Calpito    
Supervisor, Media Management  
Toronto and Region Conservation  
416.661.6600 ext 5632
Mobile: 416.358-3446 

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Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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