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Grand River (Ontario)

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Grand River Ontario

This article is about the Grand River in Southern Ontario, Canada. For other rivers of the same name, please see: Grand River.

The Grand River is a large river in southwestern Ontario, Canada. From its source, it flows south through Grand Valley, Fergus, Elora, Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Paris, Brantford, Caledonia, and Cayuga before emptying into the north shore of Lake Erie south of Dunnville at Port Maitland. One of the scenic and spectacular features of the river is the falls and gorge at Elora.

The river's rural character, ease of access and lack of portages make it a desirable canoeing location, especially the stretch between West Montrose and Paris, Ontario. A number of conservation areas exist in the area of the river, managed by the Grand River Conservation Authority.

The Grand Valley Trail stretches 250 km along the river's valley between the town of Alton and Lake Erie.

The river was named "Grande Rivière" by the French during the 18th century. Although it was later renamed Ouse River by John Graves Simcoe, the anglicized form of the French name has remained in common use.

Watershed

The Grand River watershed consists of all the land that drains into the Grand River through tributary creeks and rivers such as the Conestogo, Speed, Eramosa and Nith rivers. The Grand River watershed is Southern Ontario's largest.

Because a watershed is an ecosystem with natural borders, it includes and crosses many municipal boundaries. Its headwaters are near Dundalk in the north. The Grand River flows south south east.

Luther Marsh, a 52 square kilometre wetland on the upper Grand, is one of the largest inland wetlands in southern Ontario and provides habitat for waterfowl, including Least Bittern and Black Tern, and amphibians. It is also an important staging area during migration.

The watershed (7000 square kilometers or 2600 square miles) has been recognized by the designation of the Grand as a Canadian Heritage River.

See also

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