Grand River Branch

United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada





Selected Reprints from the

Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches

"Declaring the Grand River a Heritage River"   Angela E.M. Files, February 1989, Vol. 1  No.1, Page 12

  Federal, provincial and territorial governments have been discussing for some time ways that some of our Canadian rivers can be protected for future generations.  One way to ensure protection of natural heritage and recreational values of outstanding rivers was to develop CANADIAN HERITAGE RIVER SYSTEMS.  Each heritage river, so designated, would be managed by the federal, provincial or territorial governments in such a way that its distinctive heritage values and resources would be preserved, and provisions made for increased public use and enjoyment of the river.  The remote Alsek, French and Athabaska Rivers have already been designated as Canadian Heritage Rivers. 

  Many organizations and groups in the Grand River Valley feel that our beautiful, winding Grand River should also have the distinct honour of being declared a heritage river.  The Grand River Branch of the United Empire Loyalists supports this concept, because both Indian and white Loyalists settled in the Grand River Valley after the American Revolution, and it was an important geographical landmark to our ancestors.

  On October 6-7, 1988, the Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, organized a public lecture and professional development workshop entitled "Heritage Rivers in Canada: The Concept and its Application to the Grand River", at Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's College.  On Thursday afternoon, October 6, Nick Coomber, Canada Parks Service, delivered a public lecture on "The History of the Heritage Rivers Program in Canada".  He suggested that the Grand River meets three criteria of a heritage river, because it has outstanding natural, human and recreational values.

  The Grand River is the oldest river in Ontario, and it shows the glacier effects of the Ice Age which existed over 12,000 years ago.  Many land forms of flat clay, sand and gravel bed, potholes and old river channels are the results of this glacial epoch.  The Carolinian Forest in the central and lower part of the Grand River Valley, below Cambridge to Paris and the Six Nations Reserve, is a botanical natural gift to the residents of the area. 

  The cultural mosaic of the area in both ancient and modern times -- Natives and white people -- developed and interesting human heritage.  Tourism and recreation could be fully developed from the Luther Marshes, located in the upper reaches of the Grand river, through the Carolinian Forests, to the wetlands and marshes of Dunnville, the source of the river.

  Dr. Gordon Nelson, Chairperson, summarized nine papers compiled by Waterloo University students as part of the GRAND RIVER HERITAGE STUDY.  All studies have been placed in our Grand River Branch U.E.L. Library and are well worth reading.  The study topics and authors are as follows:

1. Heritage Management Arrangement for the Grand River Valley - Derrick A. Hammond and Andrew J. Skibicki
2. Development Stresses in the Grand River Valley - Andrew J. Skibicki and Derrick A. Hammond
3. Six Nations - Past and Present - Chris Hart and Mark Epp
4. Human Heritage of the Grand River - Mark Epp
5. Geological Heritage of the Grand River - Mark A. Bowes
6. Biological Features of the Grand River
7. Grand River Heritage Study : Recreation Study
8. Water Quality and the Grand River Heritage - George R. Smith
9. Parks and Protected Areas - George R. Smith

These resources are also available at Human Resources Centre, Environmental Studies Building 1, Room 345, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario Canada  N2L 3G1 .

Comments, suggestions or requests for information about the Canadian Heritage Rivers System should be addressed to:

Canadian Heritage Rivers

Parks Canada

Ottawa, Ontario     K1A 1G2