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About the Canadian Heritage Rivers System


The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS) was established in 1984 by federal, provincial and territorial governments to conserve rivers with outstanding natural, cultural and recreational heritage, to give them national recognition, and to encourage the public to enjoy and appreciate them.

Today, there are 42 Canadian Heritage Rivers (38 designated, and another 4 nominated) across Canada, and more are being added to the system each year. View a map of the system or visit our photo gallery.



No new legislation is created when a river is designated to the CHRS. All protective actions on Canadian Heritage Rivers depend on existing laws and regulations, and respect the rights of Aboriginal peoples, communities, private landowners, and other stakeholders.

Governments retain their jurisdictional powers and management responsibilities throughout the nomination and designation process.



Each year, the CHRS Secretariat publishes an annual report on the System. The report includes information on program activities (conferences, studies, upcoming nominations and designations, etc.) and on the state of the rivers. This information is provided by planners and river managers across the country.

Rivers designated to the CHRS undergo reviews every ten years. In-depth monitoring reports are produced detailing the state of the riversí heritage values.


10-year reports available online include:

The Bloodvein River 1998-2007 (Manitoba)
The Thames River 2000-2012 (Ontario)
The Rideau Waterway 2000-2012 (Ontario)
The Cowichan River 2003-2013 (BC)
The Seal River 2006-2014 (Manitoba)
The Humber River 1999-2009 (Ontario)
The St. Marys River 2000-2011 (Ontario)
Athabasca River Monitoring Report 2011 (covers 1999-2010; Parks Canada)
The Shelburne River (1997-2007)  (Nova Scotia)
The Fraser River (1998-2008) (British Columbia)
The Bonnet Plume River (1997-2007) (Yukon)
The Grand River (1994-2004) (Ontario)
The Thirty Mile (Yukon River) 1990-2002 (Yukon)

Read more about how to nominate and designate a river or about how the CHRS program is administered.