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History and Origins of the Humber River
Toronto, Ontario

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The Humber River is one of two major rivers on either side of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the other being the Don River to the east.

It was designated a Canadian Heritage River on September 24, 1999. More recently, the parklands around the mouth of the lower Humber River have been designated a Heritage Park; {"The Shared Path"}

The Humber collects from about 750 creeks and tributaries in a fan-shaped area north of the city.The footprint created by this system as it flows southwards to Lake Ontario is known as the Humber River watershed. The main source of the river shares a limited geographical region near Orangeville, known as the "Headwaters" with three other well known drainage systems in southern Ontario. These are the Credit, Grand and Nottawasaga rivers. Of the four rivers giving the area this name, only one, the Nottawasaga, flows north.

The Humber is a complex system consisting of three branches and many tributaries, most of which are unnamed. Of the named tributaries, Black Creek is of historical significance.

One main branch runs for about 100 km from the Niagara Escarpment in the northwest, while the main branch arises in the Oak Ridges Moraine close to Mono Mills east of Orangeville, Ontario,

The smaller east branch starts in the Lake St. George & Lake Wilcox area in the Oak Ridges Moraine to the northeast near Aurora, Ontario.

The three branches join north of Toronto and then flow in a generally southeasterly direction into Lake Ontario at what was once the far western portions of the city. This is just east of Sir Casimir Gzowski Park and Humber Bay Park East.

Humber River Synopsis

Source - Oak Ridges Moraine
& Niagara Escarpment

Elevation - 300-450 m
(-1,176 ft)

Total Length 1,800 km (1,118 mi)

Drainage Basin 903 km2
(349 sq mi)

Mouth - Humber Bay

Cities - Toronto, Vaughan, Brampton, Caledon, King, Mono, Richmond Hill

{Click here for Geology of the Humber Watershed}

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