First Peoples

From the award winning bridge over the mouth of the Humber River, the southern end of the 100 km Carrying Place (Toronto) trail is still visible. For thousands of years, the Humber formed part of the water and portage route that connected this spot to the Holland River, Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay.

The Carrying Place, by painter George A. Reid, depicts La Salle on the way over the Humber River to the Holland River and on to Lake Simcoe (courtesy Government of Ontario Art Collection/632970).

First Nations people have lived in the Toronto region for about 11,000 years. Long before contact with Europeans in the 1600s, First Nations people travelled, traded and fought wars along the trail. They also camped, fished, and built villages along the river. The French, followed by the British, found it equally strategic.

The Humber is steeped in history, earning its designation as a national heritage river. Most of the sites included in this theme are located along the Humber, which has been interpreted as the Shared Path/Sentier Partagé and is well worth the walk referred to below. It was the main transportation route to the northern Great Lakes until the construction of Yonge Street as an alternative military land route beginning in the late 18th century.

The Stories