August 21, 2017
Today, the governments of Canada, Quebec and Ontario celebrated important heritage designations for both the Ontario and Quebec portions of the Ottawa River.
The Ottawa River’s designation as a Heritage River recognizes the river’s outstanding cultural heritage value, including its significance to Indigenous Peoples, its history as an important trade and transportation route, and its continued importance to many communities and businesses in both Ontario and Quebec.
The Ottawa River travels through the heart of Algonquin traditional territory and has been used as a transportation route for millennia. Its waters hold the rich and varied heritage of our nation, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples. Known as the “original Trans-Canada highway,” the river was invaluable to the economic and political growth of the region during the fur and timber eras and continues to be an essential economic engine today.
In July 2016, the Ontario portion of the Ottawa River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, along with Ontario’sMinister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry.
The Minister of Culture and Communications and Minister responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, Luc Fortin, has now designated the Quebec portion of the Ottawa River as a historic site under Quebec’sCultural Heritage Act.
With a watershed twice the size of New Brunswick, the Ottawa River Ottawa represents one of North America’s most important flyways, providing habitat to more than 300 species of birds, and sustains more than 80 species at risk. Families on both sides of the river swim, drink and fish thanks to its waters. The heritage designation of the whole Ottawa River will enhance our collective sense of river pride and inspire people in Quebec and Ontario to respect and protect the river that flows through their communities.