Grand River Branch
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada
Selected Reprints from the
Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches
"Grand River to be a Heritage River"
Doris Lemon, February 1994, Vol.6 No.1, Page 14
Over the past several years, Grand River Branch U.E.L. has been following with interest, the project to designate the Grand River as a Canadian Heritage River. The Grand River Valley possesses outstanding natural beauty and a diversity of cultural and recreational resources. On Tuesday, January 18, 1994, at Langdon Hall, in Cambridge, the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board officially recommended that the Grand River become the 17th Canadian river to receive the designation. The formal designation cannot occur until the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the federal Minister of Culture have studied the recommendation. Officials at the Authority remain optimistic that the honour will be forthcoming sometime during Heritage Week, in February. By the time you are reading this newsletter, the Grand River may very well be officially designated a Canadian Heritage River.
Barbara Veale, at the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), noted in an article appearing in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record (Jan. 19, 1994, p. A3), that "the Grand is the first non-wilderness river to be designated". In practical terms, the designation may result in a broader public consciousness of the cultural and natural history and the recreational potential of the Grand River Valley. Tourist businesses may benefit from the designation. The programme to designate the Grand as a Canadian Heritage River, began in 1987 and has involved a great many people from different areas of expertise -- geographers, biologists, environmentalists, parks and recreation officials, to name only a few. we congratulate the many people who have been involved in the project and who have given so much to this magnificent venture.
Members of the Grand River Branch of the United Empire Loyalists' Association a re already very conscious of regional heritage and of our early loyalist and Native settlements. The Heritage River designation brings a national perspective to our "valley communities". We hope that this broader dimension will ultimately incorporate a public affirmation and positive understanding of the loyalist patriotic culture of yesteryear -- a culture, which was very much a part of the life of people living along the Grand River Valley and adjacent areas. With the triumph of the "Canada First" movement of the 1960's, English Canadians lost something of that unifying, social memory, common to both local and national history. We hope that a Canadian Heritage River designation will open new avenues to educate our citizens on loyalist and Native history along the valley and foster an appreciation of that unique "British-American experience", which shaped and gave substance to the language, life and soul of our Grand River communities today.