Humber River

The Humber River is the only Canadian Heritage River in the GTA, and one of only 40 such designated rivers across Canada.

The Humber River was officially designated in 1999, under the Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS) for its significant cultural and recreational values, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), the Humber Heritage Community, and dedicated community members.

Humber River Heritage designation ceremony in 1999
The Humber River was designated to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in 1999.

The Humber River has rich human history as a home for Indigenous peoples along its banks, as an ancient transportation route known as the Carrying Place Trail, and as a site for many of Toronto’s post-European settlement homes and industries.

The Carrying Place Trail is one of the oldest established transportation routes in Canada and is the highlight of the Humber’s CHRS designation.

Humber River Watershed Features

The Humber River watershed encompasses 911 square kilometres, includes 1,800 kilometers of waterway and 600 bodies of water, and is home to nearly one million people. It is the largest watershed in TRCA’s jurisdiction.

VIEW THE HUMBER RIVER WATERSHED REPORT CARD

Its waters, originating on the Niagara Escarpment and the Oak Ridges Moraine, flow down the Humber River into Lake Ontario through a variety of landscapes, including kettle lakes, rich farm lands, and the ancient shoreline of now-vanished Lake Iroquois.

The main branch of the river flows 126 kilometres from its source on the Niagara Escarpment to Lake Ontario.

The East Humber is 63 kilometres and originates in the kettle lakes region of Richmond Hill and King Township.

The West Humber begins in Caledon, in the rolling hills of the South Slope, and flows 45 kilometres over the Peel Plain in Brampton before joining the Main Humber in Toronto.

HUMBER RIVER WATERSHED:
By Municipality

CALEDON: 35%
VAUGHAN: 20%
KING: 16%
TORONTO: 14%
BRAMPTON: 7%
RICHMOND HILL: 2%
MONO: 2%
ADJALA-TOSORONTIO: 2%
AURORA: 1%
MISSISSAUGA: 1%

HUMBER RIVER WATERSHED:
Land Use

RURAL: 54%
URBANIZING: 13%
URBAN: 33%
TOTAL: 100%
NATURAL COVER: 32%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HUMBER