Nova Scotia

Human River Walk follows path of Dartmouth underground river

A march was held in Dartmouth on Sunday to draw attention to a long forgotten river that used to flow through the heart of downtown.

In 1972, the Sawmill River was covered over and replaced with culverts that forced the water underground

A march was held in Dartmouth on Sunday to draw attention to a long forgotten river that used to flow through the heart of downtown.

The Human River Walk started at the corner of Irishtown Road and Prince Albert Road and followed a greenway path to Sullivan's Pond.

Organizers, the Ecology Action Centre, say the path they walked was once the Sawmill River. It was the end of the Shubenacadie Canal that connected Halifax harbour across the province to the Bay of Fundy.

In 1972, the river was covered over and replaced with culverts that forced the water underground.

The Ecology Action Centre says the waterway is an important part of Nova Scotia heritage and at one time was a key navigational route for the Mi'kmaq. They say today, it's plays a large role in the operation of the Shubenacadie Canal.

Many of the demonstrators carried small cutout paper fish, saying part of the restoration of the waterway will include a fish ladder that will help small fish migrate up the river. (CBC)

About 100 walkers joined in and organizer Jocelyn Rankin was hopeful demonstrations like the one Sunday will influence government officials to reopen the waterway.

"We're really hoping the turnout today and the enthusiasm we see and the folks that are here for the Human River Walk will not only raise awareness amongst the greater community of Dartmouth, but amongst the councillors, the community council, the Harbour East-Marine Drive community council and also wider regional council," she said.

"So the people who have the power to make the decision to bring the river back to the surface and realize this really important part of Dartmouth."

Many of the demonstrators carried small cutout paper fish, saying part of the restoration of the waterway will include a fish ladder that will help small fish migrate up the river.

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