The Grand River flows through Ontario, Canada, emptying into Lake Erie. It passes through the Tri-Cities Area of Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge, as well as Brantford, Paris and many smaller communities in the way. It's tributaries include the Conestoga, Speed, Eramosa, and Nith rivers, comprising the largest watershed (7000 sq. km) in Southern Ontario. It also has the largest valley in the region.
The Grand River provided transportation, water power, and water supply to early settlers of the region in the 1800s. Deforestation and urbanization contributed to the aggravation of floods and droughts, and ultimately led to the point where the river's water quality became a concern.
In 1948, the Grand Valley Conservation Authority was formed under the terms of the new Conservation Authorities Act of 1946. The two organizations merged in 1966 to become the Grand River Conservation Authority, whose mission is "to conserve the natural processes and resources that support a safe and healthy environment for future generations in the Grand River watershed."1
Today, due to the efforts of the GRCA, the Grand River is a beautiful river with spectacular natural scenery, and has been designated a Canadian Heritage River. Towards the northern end, at the village of Elora, is the Elora Gorge, through which the Grand River travels through the 22 meter limestone walls. Between Cambridge and Brantford, the river passes through an area with a southern type of forest known as The Carolinian Life Zone, and is the only area with this type of vegetation in Canada. Many rare plants and animals can be found here.
The Authority also operates several trails near the Grand, including one from Cambridge to Paris, through the Carolinian Life Zone, and is 18 km, and another from Paris to Brantford, and is approximately 11 km long. It also operates portions of two more trails (from Elora to Cataract, and Brantford to Hamilton), but these do not fall along the river.)
Within the Tri-Cities Area, The Walter Bean Grand River Trail is being built along the river by communities in The Region Of Waterloo to run approximately 76 km through Woolwich Township, Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge, linking with the trail to Paris. Large sections of the trail are already completed.
Fishing is also possible in some areas of the watershed, supporting many different species of fish. Canoeing is also popular, especially in the Elora Gorge area.
Grand River Conservation Authority, http://www.grandriver.ca/
Walter Bean Grand River Trail, http://www.sju.ca/grt/index.html