Parks Canada

Parks Canada

May 16, 2008 16:16 ET

Baird and Cansfield Approve Nomination of Ottawa River as a Candidate Canadian Heritage River

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 16, 2008) - Canada's Environment Minister, John Baird, and Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources, Donna Cansfield, are pleased to announce the official endorsement of the nomination of the Ottawa River as a Canadian Heritage River.

"Being born and raised in Nepean, I'm delighted to recognize the cultural, natural and recreational significance of the Ottawa River by approving the nomination of the Ottawa River to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System," said Minister Baird. "This river represents a critical link to our country's settlement and growth, and continues to be an important waterway to local communities."

"The Canadian Heritage River nomination and future designation will ensure the Ottawa River gets the full recognition it deserves as a vital part of our history, and will support our efforts to ensure a healthy, vibrant future for this important waterway and the communities it serves," said Minister Cansfield.

The Ottawa River can now be considered for full designation in the Canadian Heritage Rivers System. The area recommended for designation includes the entire section of 590 km of the Ottawa River bordering the Province of Ontario, from the head of Lake Timiskaming to East Hawkesbury.

The average flow of the Ottawa River is one of the greatest in Canada, making it a world-class paddling and rafting destination. The river spans 1271 km with a watershed covering 146,300 sq. km, an area twice the size of New Brunswick. The river provides a home for over 300 species of birds and is one of the continent's most important flyways. Its rich ecosystems also sustain more than 80 species at risk.

"Minister Cansfield and I want to thank the Ottawa River Heritage Designation Committee for their hard work and dedication. This nomination will be good for the river, good for the citizens living along it, and good for Canada," said Minister Baird. "We would especially like to acknowledge the support of the former Member of Parliament Len Hopkins who, unfortunately, is not with us today to see the nomination move forward. I'm sure Mr. Hopkins would have been pleased to see the community's hard work come to fruition."

The Ottawa River and surrounding area is of outstanding cultural heritage value as the heartland of the Algonquin people and their culture, as well as for being the definitive route of Canadian exploration, providing Canada's most famous European explorers such as Samuel de Champlain, with a passage into central and western North America. The Ottawa River was gateway to Canada's most famous trade routes used during the coureurs de bois and voyageur era in Canada, and was critical to the development of commercial enterprise, mapping and settlement in Canada.

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System is a joint federal-provincial-territorial initiative that gives national recognition to Canadian rivers of extraordinary natural, cultural and recreational significance.

Also available on the Internet at under Media room.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Eric Richer
    Press Secretary
    Ontario Parks
    Barton Feilders
    Manager, Planning and Research
    Parks Canada
    National Corporate Communications Branch
    Joanne Huppe
    Media Relations Advisor
    Office of the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources
    David Bauer
    Senior Advisor - Communications