The Humber River is a river in Southern Ontario which is a tributary of Lake Ontario and is one of two major rivers on either side of the city of Toronto, the other being the Don River. TheRiver begins at Humber Springs Ponds on the Niagara Escarpment in Mono, Dufferin County and reaches its mouth at Humber Bay on Lake Ontario in the city of Toronto. The Humber was designated a Canadian Heritage River on September 24, 1999.
The Humber collects from about 750 creeks and tributaries. It encompasses portions of Dufferin County, the Regional Municipality of Peel, Simcoe County, and the Regional Municipality of York. The main branch runs for about 100 kilometres from the Niagara Escarpment in the northwest, while another other major branch, known as the East Humber River, starts at Lake St. George in the Oak Ridges Moraine near Aurora to the northeast. Both rivers join north of Toronto and then flow in a southeasterly direction into Lake Ontario, The river mouth is flanked by Sir Casimir Gzowski Park and Humber Bay Park East.
The Humber has a long history of human settlement along its banks. The first settlers were the Palaeo-Indians who lived in the area from 10,000 to 7000 BC. The second wave, people of the Archaic period, settled the area between 7000 and 1000 BC and began to adopt seasonal migration patterns to take advantage of available plants, fish, and game. The third wave of native settlement was the Woodland period, which saw the introduction of the bow and arrow and the growing of crops which allowed for larger, more permanent villages.
The Anishinaabe refer to the river as Cobechenonk. During the 1600s and 1700s, the river was known by several names before it was given the official name of Humber. Popple’s map of 1733 shows a prominent river beside the native settlement Tejajagon assumed to be the Humber. Its name is given as the Tanaovate River. The river was also known as the Toronto River. Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe gave the river the name of Humber, likely after the Humber estuary in England.