The Humber River spilled over its banks during Hurricane Hazel in 1954 - a rain storm that forced many people out of their homes and left thousands in southern Ontario homeless. 2009 is the 10th anniversary of the Humber's designation as a Canadian Heritage River. The Humber River is located in the west end of Toronto. It continues north and east into York Region as far east as Richmond Hill and as far north as King City. To the north and west it stretched into the Cities of Brampton and Caledon. Within Toronto The Humber River was the dividing line between the former City of Etobicoke and the former Cities of North York and Toronto. The Humber River has its headwaters in the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment. John Sarpong helped build the homes after   Hurricane Hazel.

The Humber River was designated a Canadian Heritage River for its historic and recreational values on September 24, 1999.

The Humber was used by First Nations people as a route to the north. The Toronto Carrying Place Trail was a trail that followed the Humber River and was used by First Nations people, fur traders, Voyaguers and early settlers. The location of this trail roughly corresponds to Weston Road (one of the few roads in Toronto that does not follow the grid, the other being Davenport Road which follows the old Lake Iroquois shorline.

The Humber River Watershed is managed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority along with 8 other watersheds in the Toronto region. The Humber River is the biggest of these watersheds.

Within the City of Toronto there is a bike trail that runs along almost the entire length of the Humber River. There is one break near Lawrence Avenue where you have to go out on the Weston Road.

You can canoe up the Humber river from Lake Ontario up to about the Old Mill Bridge. This is approximately where the first weir is located. In the fall around Thanksgiving (mid October) you can watch salmon jumping the weir at Etienne Brule Park. There are often people fishing at this location. You can eat the fish, but I don't recommend eating a lot of it and I would not recommend eating the big ones... bioaccumulation and all you know. Check with the Ministry of the Environment they have a guide for sport fishing.

A memorial was created to commemorate the victims of Hurricane Hazel, including one built in 2002 from part of the cement structure of a bridge that crossed the Humber River, next to a pathway beside the river that runs through Weston Lions Park, near Lawrence Avenue and Weston Road. A mural of a riverside scene – including a man crossing a bridge – is painted on one side of the massive concrete slab, along with reproductions of breathless newspaper accounts of the calamity that were reproduced on either end of the slab.

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 [email protected]