Nottawasaga River

The Nottawasaga River is a river in Simcoe County and Dufferin County in Central Ontario, Canada.[1] It is part of the Great Lakes Basin, and is a tributary of Lake Huron. The river flows from the Orangeville Reservoir in the town of Orangeville, Dufferin County, through the Niagara Escarpment[2] and the Minesing Wetlands, the latter a wetland of international significance (Ramsar Convention site), and empties into Nottawasaga Bay, an inlet of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron, at the town of Wasaga Beach, Simcoe County.

Nottawasaga River
Nottawasaga River.JPG
The Nottawasaga River in Wasaga Beach
Nottawasaga River is located in Southern Ontario
Nottawasaga River
Location of the mouth of the Nottawasaga River in southern Ontario
EtymologyFrom the Algonquin words for "Iroquois" and "river outlet"
RegionCentral Ontario
Physical characteristics
SourceOrangeville Reservoir
 • locationOrangeville, Dufferin County
 • coordinates43°56′29″N 80°05′29″W / 43.94139°N 80.09139°W / 43.94139; -80.09139
 • elevation412 m (1,352 ft)
MouthNottawasaga Bay
 • location
Wasaga Beach, Simcoe County
 • coordinates
44°32′12″N 80°00′29″W / 44.53667°N 80.00806°W / 44.53667; -80.00806Coordinates: 44°32′12″N 80°00′29″W / 44.53667°N 80.00806°W / 44.53667; -80.00806
 • elevation
176 m (577 ft)
Length120 km (75 mi)
Basin size3,361 km2 (1,298 sq mi)
Basin features
River systemGreat Lakes Basin
 • leftBoyne River

The river takes its name from the word "Nottawasaga". Nottawa means "Iroquois" and saga means "mouth of the river"; the word was used by Algonquin scouts as a warning if they saw Iroquois raiding parties approaching their villages.[3]


The Nottawasaga River's headwaters originate in the Niagara Escarpment, Simcoe Uplands, Oak Ridges Moraine and Oro Moraine.[2] The area of the drainage basin is 3,361 square kilometres (1,298 sq mi),[4] and as well as Dufferin County and Simcoe County, is located in Grey County and the Regional Municipality of Peel.


The Nottawasaga River is the resting home of HMS Nancy, a merchant schooner taken into the Royal Navy during the War of 1812. It met three American warships: USS Niagara, USS Tigress and USS Scorpion. The small ship lost the battle but Lt. Miller Worsley and crew escaped. They rowed 360 miles to Fort Michilimackinac and three days later, Worsley returned with 92 men to take the Tigress and Scorpion. Since her sinking, an island formed around the Nancy. The hull is now preserved in a museum at Nancy Island Historic Site which is a part of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.

Natural historyEdit

Fish ladders allow rainbow trout to reach spawning grounds on the upper river. The river is under the auspices of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority.


  • McIntyre Creek (left)
  • Little Marl Creek (right)
  • Marl Creek (right)
  • Willow Creek (right)
  • Mad River (left)
  • Bear Creek (right)
  • Pine River (left)
  • Boyne River (left)
  • Innisfil Creek (right)
  • Sheldon Creek (left)


  1. ^ "Nottawasaga River". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  2. ^ a b "Nottawasaga Valley Watershed Report Card" (PDF). Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  3. ^ "The History of Wasaga Beach" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Nottawasaga? Did you know this?". Nottawasaga Steelheaders. Retrieved 2014-05-10.


External linksEdit