Mr. Speaker, the legacy continues. In 1984 Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau initiated the Canadian heritage river secretariat to recognize the great natural and human heritage of Canada's rivers.
On August 14, 2000, the Thames River in southwestern Ontario was officially designated as one of Canada's 28 Canadian heritage rivers.
Over its 11,000 year history, the Thames River has played a key historic role. Natives, hunters, explorers, fur traders, settlers, soldiers and former slaves have all travelled this natural highway.
Today, the river and its watershed are home to great diversity of plants, birds, fish and animals, some of which are endangered and found nowhere else in Canada.
Last month, at the annual Heritage Day Festival, I was pleased to join with provincial and first nation representatives to unveil a plaque recognizing the heritage river.
Congratulations to the many volunteers who made this dream a reality.