Research Guide to the Humber River (Ontario)

September 29, 2014 | Katherine

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Getting Started

The Humber River watershed is a defining geographic feature of the west and north part of Toronto, and includes some of the oldest native peoples and European settlements in the region. In 1954 it overflowed its banks under the onslaught of Hurricane Hazel, and the resulting loss of life and extensive property damage led to the formation of the Metropolitan Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (now Toronto & Region Conservation Authority), and the establishment of flood plain guidelines that continue to govern development along Toronto's rivers. The still navigable Humber is popular for canoeing and fishing, and there are miles of hiking and bike trails running beside it.

Find research materials on the Humber in the Toronto Collection in the Humanities & Social Science Department at the Toronto Reference Library and the Society & Recreation and Canadiana Departments at North York Central Library. Some titles may also be available at other library branches.

  Humber River Pedestrian Bridge
    Humber River Pedestrian Bridge  Creative Commons 2.0: veggiefrog

Searching the Library Website

    Sugggested Keywords

Use the column at the left on the Library search page to focus and limit your search by type of material, date, library branch or subject.

Other terms related to river valley issues:

  • Pollution
  • Rivers
  • Streams
  • Conservation
  • Watersheds
  • Watershed management
  • Wetlands
  • Urban ecology


    Suggested Titles

Walking into wilderness : the Toronto CarryingPlace and Nine Mile Portage

Humber River: the carrying place

Crossing the Humber : The Humber River heritage bridge inventory

Listen to your river : a report card on the health of the Humber River watershed

The Humber : tales of a Canadian heritage river

Toronto wet weather flow management master plan : study area 3 - Humber River : final report

Humber Forks at Thistletown

Pesticide concentrations in the Don and Humber River watersheds (1998-2000)

Humber River watershed fisheries management plan : draft. Prepared in support of legacy: a strategy for a healthy Humber

Legacy : a strategy for a healthy Humber

The Humber River/High Park/western beaches civic design study : final report

Three hundred years in and around Swansea School grounds : the story of the first white man's trip down the Humber River and historical sketch of S.S. 22

The merchant-millers of the Humber Valley : a study of the early economy of Canada

Humber River watershed plan : pathways to a healthy Humber

Hurricane Hazel

Hurricane Hazel : Canada's storm of the century

Flood data : Humber River, October 15-16, 1954

Hurricane Hazel

Hurricane Hazel damage along the Humber River, 1954  Toronto Reference Library

    Suggested Articles

You can find magazine and newspaper articles on the Humber by searching the library’s electronic databases. Try Academic Onefile, Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies, Canadian Newsstand Torstar, Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA), Canadian Periodicals Index (CPIQ), General Onefile. You can find images of the original newspaper coverage of Hurricane Hazel, and other news stories in the Toronto Star: Pages of the Past and the Globe and Mail: Canada’s Heritage from 1844.

These can be searched inside the library, or from home or school using your Toronto Public Library card

     Suggested Magazines and Journals

Magazines, newspapers, or newsletters that discuss watershed issues:

Humber Advocate (1994-2001)

Humber River Advocate (2001-2008)

Humber River Advocate (current issues)

Toronto Field Naturalist

Humber 1910
Old Mill, Humber River 1910  Toronto Reference Library


Additional Online Sources

Canadian Heritage Rivers System: Humber River

City of Toronto: Humber River Parks

City of Toronto-Humber River/Don River Stream  Restoration and Protection Study

Federation of Ontario Naturalists

Humber River Pedestrian Bridge

Humber Valley Heritage Trail Association

Humber Watershed Alliance

Hurricane Hazel: 50 years later

Ontario Trails Council: Humber River, Old Mill and Marshes

Review of Provincially Significant Wetlands in the City of Toronto

Toronto Plaques: Humber Walks

Toronto Public Library: Historical images of the Humber River

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA): Humber River Watershed

Waterfront Trail


For further assistance contact:

Humanities & Social Science Department, Toronto Reference Library
trlhss @

Old Mill Bridge, north of Bloor
Old Mill Bridge over the Humber River  Creative Commons 2.0: John Vetterli


See also Research Guide to the Don River (Ontario)

            Research Guide to the Rouge River (Ontario)