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The Right to Travel a River and to Portage
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If you canoe in Ontario, you are likely to use portages to get you around obstacles, and you may wonder whether you are allowed to use them. As a rule of thumb, on public land which includes the Provincial and National Parks, you are free to proceed. On private land, ask for permission.

The Ontario Public Lands Act (March 31, 1997), Chapter P43, Item 65(4) defines the Public's right to portage:
"Where public lands over which a portage has existed or exists have been heretofore or are hereafter sold or otherwise disposed of..., any person traveling on waters connected by the portage has the right to pass over and along the portage with the person's effects without the permission of or a payment to the owner of the lands, and any person who obstructs, hinders, delays or interferes with the exercise of such right of passage is guilty of an offence..."
Ontario Supreme Court Ruling on the Reed dam of the Credit River, at Norval: the right to portage is denied because a dam was built where there was no portage before. Tough, eh? So, stand up to anyone trying to build a dam across your favorite river!
Ruling of Hosaic Creek, in eastern Ontario, as being a navigable waterway. You gotta share with hunters, though. Lots of legalese, but also some neat statement of the use of Ontario's creeks by Iroquois natives.
Ruling on Bronte Creek, west of Toronto, as being navigable. There are many references to other legal cases, including some of the US references

Many thanks to Jim Greenacre for giving me the ugly details of the Credit River case, and to Richard Culpeper for making proper legal search documents available.

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