Canadian Heritage Rivers System

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The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS) (French: Le réseau de rivières du patrimoine canadien) was established in 1984 by the federal, provincial and territorial governments to conserve and protect the best examples of Canada's river heritage, to give them national recognition, and to encourage the public to enjoy and appreciate them. It is a cooperative program of the governments of Canada, nine provinces, and the three territories. A 14-member national board, created under the Parks Canada Agency Act, administers the program. Quebec withdrew its participation in 2006.[1][2]

The first Canadian Heritage River was the French River in Ontario, designated in 1986, and rivers are now designated in every province and territory except for Quebec. There are currently 38 designated and 4 nominated rivers.[3]

Designated rivers[edit]

The rivers currently designated as a Canadian Heritage River are:

River Province/Territory Year
Alsek River Yukon 1986
Arctic Red River Northwest Territories 1993
Athabasca River Alberta 1989
Bay du Nord River Newfoundland 2006
Bloodvein River Manitoba/Ontario 1987/1998
Bonnet Plume River Yukon 1998
Boundary Waters Ontario 1996
Clearwater River Saskatchewan/Alberta 1987/2004
Cowichan River British Columbia 2003
Detroit River Ontario/Michigan 2001
Fraser River British Columbia 1998
French River Ontario 1986
Grand River Ontario 1994
Hayes River Manitoba 2006
Hillsborough River Prince Edward Island 1997
Humber River Ontario 1999
Kazan River Nunavut 1990
Kicking Horse River Alberta/British Columbia 1989
Main River Newfoundland 2001
Margaree River Nova Scotia 1998
Mattawa River Ontario 1988
Missinaibi River Ontario 2004
North Saskatchewan River Alberta/British Columbia 1989
Red River Manitoba 2007
Rideau Waterway Ontario 2000
Saint John River New Brunswick 2013
Seal River Manitoba 1992
Shelburne River Nova Scotia 1997
Soper River Nunavut 1992
South Nahanni River Northwest Territories 1987
St. Croix River New Brunswick 1991
St. Marys River Ontario 2000
Tatshenshini River Yukon 2004
Thames River Ontario 2000
Thelon River Nunavut 1990
The Three Rivers Prince Edward Island 2004
Upper Restigouche River New Brunswick 1998
Yukon River (The Thirty Mile Section) Yukon 1991

Nominated rivers[edit]

River Province/Territory Year
Adams River British Columbia 2008
Churchill River Saskatchewan
Coppermine River Nunavut
Ottawa River Ontario 2007

Quebec participation[edit]

As of 2011, Quebec is the only province or territory to not have a designated or nominated river. Quebec withdrew its participation in the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in 2006.

Quebec's lack of participation potentially impacts nominations for rivers shared with other provinces. In 1998, the New Brunswick portion of the Restigouche River was designated (as "Upper Restigouche"), while the Quebec portion was not. The Ottawa River was nominated in 2007, but local media reports acknowledged the challenge facing the Ottawa River's bid, as only the Ontario portion of the river would be designated and protected. Unlike the Restigouche, the Ottawa River forms much of the Ontario-Quebec border, so protecting the Ontario shore would be somewhat pointless if the Quebec shore wasn't also protected.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Canadian Heritage Rivers System on The Canadian Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Heritage River status is an opportunity on Christine Tabbert's blog
  3. ^ About the Canadian Heritage Rivers System on The Canadian Heritage Rivers System

External links[edit]