May 2020

Wellington Water Watchers
We would like to start this newsletter by acknowledging that the City of Guelph, where the 2Rivers Festival takes place, is situated within the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Lands  between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Here in these river valleys we have learned that the Attawandaron or neutral peoples were also among the original stewards. We’d like to recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal peoples on this land and the history of the First Nations peoples and neighbouring First Nation, Métis and Inuit. Today there are a wide number of Indigenous peoples who call this territory home under the Haldimand Tract Treaty with the Mississaugas of New Credit.
We want to express solidarity with the 88 First Nations communities in Ontario currently under drinking water advisories.

2Rivers Festival News

The 2Rivers Festival Begins this Weekend!

We are proud to announce that we have not let this pandemic foil our plans for the 2Rivers Festival 2020! Instead, we got creative and have configured 39 of our 40 planned events into an online format. All of our May events will be online and we have "back up" plans for our June events, if physically distancing is still required. Online events will occur over Zoom, an online conferencing system. You don't have to create an account to participate in the events. Just RSVP on the 2Rivers Festival website and you'll receive a link that you can open on your computer, smart phone, or tablet!

Since the Festival’s beginning in 2012, people have gathered to share, enjoy, and discover all that the Speed and Eramosa Rivers bring to our community. The annual2Rivers Festival is a forum to showcase and celebrate our two beautiful rivers and to engage our whole community in imagining how each one of us can become a vital participant in the regeneration of our river ecosystems. We're excited to be able to offer these wonderful events online. 

Making Guelph the Most 'Nature Rich' City

The theme of this year’s festival is “Making Guelph the Most Nature Rich City”. Special thanks to our Festival Sponsor The Guelph Outdoor School (GOS) who have graciously supported this event financially and will be the hosts of the Townhall event discussing how to make Guelph the Most Nature Rich City. Thanks to GOS for your willingness to quickly adapt to our changing circumstances and work with our new online format. We have managed to pull together some incredible offerings for our community in the online format and are grateful to the Guelph Outdoor School for all their support. 

Meet the Steering Committee

Arlene Slocombe,
Committee Chair

How long have you been involved with the 2Rivers Festival and how did you get involved?

"I recall going to some visioning sessions held about 12 years, around supporting the health of our local river systems. Out of this grew the 2Rivers Festival and I was loosely involved for those first years and then grew deeply involved and have remained that way ever since!"

What is your role on the 2Rivers Festival Steering Committee and what do you enjoy about it? 

"I oversee the Steering committee as part of my job as Executive Director of Wellington Water Watchers. Much of our work is advocacy based and it is such a joy to take the time with this festival to truly enjoy and celebrate our beautiful rivers. We often say "We protect what we love" and this festival is designed to help our community fall in love with our rivers."

Why do you love the Speed and Eramosa Rivers?"

I have had the great joy of living along the Eramosa River for the past 12 years. I feel intimately connected to her - and have enjoyed her throughout all the seasons, from the first spring outings on the canoe in her flood waters, through the summer bathing in her cool waters, to hiking the trails along her shores with the falling autumn leaves, to skiiing and skating on her in the winter." 

Why should others get involved with the 2Rivers Festival?

"We need to keep this festival fresh and engaging and as such, need you - who care passionately about our rivers to step forward and join in with your unique creative input to continually improve this great and fun work of celebrating the Speed and the Eramosa Rivers, here in Guelph."  

If you'd like to become a member of the Steering Committee, email us at [email protected]!
And follow 2RiversFestival on Facebook and Twitter!

River Droplets – fun facts about our 2Rivers 

  • Did you know, the Speed River was a popular place for skating over the years? -- On the flats near the Holliday Brewery at the foot of Yorkshire Street, near the Allan’s dam and at the park near the Sleeman House. There were three skating rinks built along the Speed River: In 1869 the Guelph Skating Rink, in 1881 Speed Skating Rink (the front of it stands in front of the River Run), The Petrie Rink at rear of the Boathouse.

  • Did you know, Riverside Park was established on 14.5 acres in 1904 by George Sleeman, chair of the Radial Railway.  Its popularity made the street railway profitable. By1944, it was 66.7 acres and had a dance pavilion The floral clock was added in 1949?

  • Did you know, there are 15 waterfalls on the horseshoe shaped section of the Niagara Escarpment that rings Hamilton? Waterfalls were the only source of power for the pioneer settlers of this region.

Upcoming 2Rivers Festival Events Along the River in May

ONLINE Sacred Water Walk 
Sunday, May 03, 2020 at 10:00 AM
Hosted by Seven Generations Forward

ONLINE Greenspace, Gravel & Gears 
Sunday, May 03, 2020 at 12:00 PM 
Hosted by Speed River Bicycle and the Speed River Gravel Grinders

ONLINE Nature in the City: Feathers and Beaks 
Sunday, May 03, 2020 at 01:00 PM
Hosted by Nature Guelph

ONLINE Garlic Mustard Pull & Pesto Making Workshop 
Wednesday, May 06, 2020 at 06:00 PM
Hosted by OPIRG Guelph

ONLINE What's That Green Stuff in the Water? 
Thursday, May 07, 2020 at 07:00 PM 
Hosted by Women in Ontario in Water

ONLINE Bringing Nature Home: Habitat Restoration 
Saturday, May 09, 2020 at 01:00 PM 
Hosted by OPIRG Guelph and the Wolfond Park Community Group

ONLINE The River Chants Parade 
Saturday, May 09, 2020 at 02:00 PM 
Hosted by Silence

ONLINE Hike the Guelph Correctional Centre Lands 
Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 09:30 AM
Hosted by the Guelph Hiking Trail Club 

ONLINE Mother’s Day Walk – Roots & Shoots & Wildflowers 
Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 02:00 PM 
Hosted by Nature Guelph in partnership with Yorklands Green Hub

ONLINE Invasive Species Pull Competition 
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 03:30 PM 
Hosted by OPIRG Guelph and the Wolfond Park Community Group

ONLINE Speed To Sea - Paddling from Guelph to the Atlantic Ocean 
Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 07:30 PM 
Hosted by Nature Guelph and Jeremy Shute of Speed to Sea

ONLINE Looking Twice 
Friday, May 15, 2020 at 07:00 PM 
Hosted by Karen Houle and the Guelph Civic Museum

ONLINE GOS Eramosa Cliffs Clean-up 
Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 01:00 PM
Hosted by the Guelph Outdoor School

ONLINE The Dance of Nature 
Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 05:30 PM 
Hosted by the Guelph Youth Dance 

ONLINE Building Our City - The Quarry Story 
Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 06:00 PM 
Hosted by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

ONLINE Fish with TackleShare! 
Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 10:00 AM
Hosted by Tackle Share

ONLINE Bike the Trails At Guelph Lake 
Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Hosted by Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association

ONLINE Nature in the City: Fins and Shells 
Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 01:00 PM
Hosted by Nature Guelph

ONLINE River Remnants: Exploring the Silver Creek 
Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 06:00 PM
Hosted by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario

ONLINE  Yoga Dance By The River 
Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 02:00 PM
Hosted by Arrive Yoga

ONLINE Birding for Beginners 
Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 09:00 AM
Hosted by Yorklands Green Hub

ONLINE Nature in the City: Nature Scavenger Hunt 
Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 01:00 PM 
Hosted by Nature Guelph

ONLINE Nature in Transition 2SLGBTQ+ Walk 
Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 01:00 PM
Hosted by ARCH - HIV/AIDS Resources Guelph and Guelph Pride

Nature on Our Banks

Spring Awakenings: Loons!

  • Loons are the iconic bird of Canada – enshrined on our dollar coin and found across most of the country. Some may have already arrived in your area to nest but migrants are still staging on open water, or over-flying us as they head further north.  Whether you just have them for a short time in the spring and fall, or are blessed with them throughout the warmer weather, their eerie voices remain a quintessential ‘call of the wild.'
  • Loons are divers more so even than flyers, having solid bones and feet placed far to the rear that help it dive to 80 m and stay under for almost a minute.  Of course, those bones also contribute to the long, running takeoffs (up to several hundred metres on a calm day) required to get airborne.  Once on the wing, however, they can reach speeds of 120 kph.
  • Although Common Loons are protected by law, they are showing reduced breeding success and have abandoned some of their breeding range in more populated areas, likely due to shoreline development and nest disturbance.  Low-lying, nests are particularly susceptible to boat wakes.  Loons are also dying from high concentrations of mercury and lead in their tissues, the latter from ingestion of lead fishing sinkers.  If you boat or fish, give nesting areas a wide berth, and consider using non-lead alternatives for sinkers and jigs.
  • American Toads complete the amphibian chorus, their long trills (embedded in previous link) coming from possibly any patch of standing water or backyard pond, day or night.
  • There is now a veritable avalanche of birds arriving from Central and South America, including a number of beautiful warblers that are mostly passing through:  Yellow, PalmNashvilleBlackburnianCape May and Cerulean, among others. 
  • Migrating northward at the rate of about 40 km/day, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will be arriving soon if not here already, so keep your eyes peeled!
  • Midland Painted Turtles will again be out basking on logs and rocks in southern Ontario and Quebec wetlands, at times raising their body temperature 8-10 degrees above the surrounding air. 
  • Spring butterflies may be out early this month, again dependent on temperatures.  They need an extended period of warm weather for their hibernating chrysalids to change into adults.  Look for Olympia Marble , Chryxus ArcticCabbage White and Hoary Elfin
  • White-tailed Deer does are banishing their male offspring from the immediate area prior to giving birth, in order to minimize interbreeding.  So watch the roads for roaming deer.
  • Trees that normally leaf out here at this time include Pin and Choke Cherry, Manitobaand Norway Maple, Trembling AspenServiceberry (flowers before leaves ) and the willows.  Leaf out can proceed very fast, so pay attention!  Sketching leaves from one day to the next can show marked changes as they unfurl.  Some leaves lie fully-formed within the buds and just have to be ‘inflated’. 
  • May 5 is the mid-point of spring and in Southern regions the last frost generally occurs by mid-month or a bit later.  It may be sooner or later where you are – find out, and compare that to the actual last day of frost this year. 

Updates from Wellington Water Watchers

Reinstate all provisions of the Environmental Bill of Rights

Wellington Water Watchers needs you to help reinstate all provisions of the Environmental Bill of Rights! The provincial government has suspended the use of the Environmental Bill of Rights (“EBR”) Registry for the duration of the COVID19 emergency and will continue for 30 days after the Emergency Act is lifted.

This new regulation removes the requirement for government ministries to notify and consult the public before it passes environmentally significant laws, regulations or policies, or before issuing certain environmentally important licenses or permits.

PS. This decision was made without public consultation.

Now is not the time to be making significant decisions regarding environmental approvals for major new developments. We are concerned that suspension of the Environmental Bill of Rights will open the door to abuse of permits to take water for bottling and applications to extract aggregate under the Aggregate Resources Act.

We need you to demand Ford Government re-instate all the provisions of the Environmental Bill of Rights by emailing your representatives!

Power of 10 Raffle

For 10 months in 2020, Wellington Water Watchers are running a raffle. Prizewinners will be drawn on the 10th of each month; after purchasing your ticket(s), you are entered to win for each of the remaining months. This month's prize is a painting by Renée Wetselaar.

You can buy tickets here, or if you want to purchase physical tickets please contact [email protected]. Tickets are only $10!


Consider making a donation to Wellington Water Watchers. You can make a $250+ donation and receive a tax receipt or make a donation of less than $250 - both are greatly appreciated!



Click here for your tax deductible donation

Follow Wellington Water Watchers!
Instagram: @wellingtonwaterwatchers

'Bluebelt' in the Greenbelt

The Greenbelt turned 15 years old last month!

On April 24th, in partnership with York Region and Dr. Jen Hill at the University of Toronto, the Greenbelt Foundation released "Natural Infrastructure in a Changing Climate" - the latest addition to the In a Changing Climate series, where the Greenbelt Foundation partner with experts to better understand how climate change is affecting many aspects of our lives, and ways that we can respond to these challenges. This report takes a closer look at how natural infrastructure plays a critical role in mitigating the risks posed by climate change and provides a range of economic, environmental, individual and social benefits.

50 Years of Earth Day!

On April 22nd, Earth Day celebrated its 50 year anniversary as one of the largest environmental movements across the world. We want to thank all the organizations, communities and individuals who are working towards a healthier climate.

Content from Greenbelt Foundation.



Other ways to Help...
Doing the work to safeguard our water requires all hands on deck. We are all Water Watchers! 

Please give of your time or money generously. Make us stronger. Make us more powerful. And let’s defend our waters together.

If you are richer in time then money, please volunteer!
If you are richer in money than time, please donate!

Make sure you follow the 2Rivers Festival on Twitter @2RiversFestival and Facebook @2RiversFestival!
For our waters,


Wellington Water Watchers · Canada
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