Monday, September 21, 2009

Heritage: Humber River 10th Anniversary

The Humber River flowed past the festivities at Étienne Brûlé Park (at right) in Toronto, Ontario celebrating its 10th anniversary as a heritage river on 19-September-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - On 24-September-1999, the Humber River was officially designated as a Canadian Heritage River over its entire length from the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment to Lake Ontario. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority put on an event celebrating this decade of heritage status this past Saturday, 19-September-2009, in Toronto's Étienne Brûlé Park along the river near the Old Mill subway station.

Various native and early settler artifacts from all along the Humber River were on display during the celebration in Toronto on 19-September-2009

The history of the Humber River clearly started in a time (at the end of the last ice age, when the glaciers withdrew) when only native peoples were in the region, and they were well-represented on Saturday with musical and dance performance groups, speakers, and a variety of artifacts on display. In their introductions and speeches, there was a major emphasis on respect for other groups (native or otherwise) at the celebration, which set a very nice tone for a day honoring a changing piece of the landscape.

The Humber River Shakespeare Company portrayed a conversation between French explorer Étienne Brûlé and a member of the Huron tribe during the Humber River celebrations on 19-September-2009

The European history of the river was introduced by a series of performances by the Humber River Shakespeare Company. The first few acts focused on French explorer Étienne Brûlé, who definitely spent time in the river's watershed whether he actually followed the river to Lake Ontario or not. The actors did a good job of portraying both Brûlé and early missionaries as somewhat naive about the realities of life along the river.

A Harris Hawk would perform in a raptor demonstration during the Humber River celebrations on 19-September-2009

The natural world was far from neglected at the event. A pair of hawks were on-hand for a raptor demonstration, and there was a lot of talk about the fish ladders to be constructed at several weirs so that salmon runs could be more robust up the river. Personally, I've only seen a single salmon above the tall weirs on the lower portion of the river.

A model of the fish ladder to be built next to the largest weirs on the lower Humber River was on display on 19-September-2009

I would have liked to stay for the whole show, but there was another event to attend celebrating the river going on that day, a Heritage Toronto-Weston Historical Society joint walk farther up the river. Coverage of that event is forthcoming.

No comments: