7 News Archive

Provincial ministry stocks Don River with Salmon

Seven News, May 24, 1975

In the fall of 1976, if all goes well, anglers and sportsmen in Ward Seven will be able to go over to the Don River and fish for salmon.

In a daring experiment, the Ministry of Natural Resources dumped 50,000 year-and-a-half old salmon into the Don River, up near the Ontario Science Centre, last month.

Those young salmon are at the life stage where they are possessed with the urge to migrate down-stream to the ocean, or in this case, Lake Ontario.

If the young fish responded as expected, they did not linger in the Don, but swam steadily down-stream searching for the lake. And if they encountered any pollution which was not overly toxic, the expectation was that they would “hold their nose and swim right through”.

It is also expected that the mouth of the Don River would probably pose a few directional problems for the fish. They might make some wrong turns but hopefully they would eventually reach the lake.

During the 1850’s, in Toronto’s past, the Don River was famous for its salmon runs. “What’s wrong with returning the river to the fish? That’s what rivers are for, not for sewage disposal,” stated Al Wainio, chief biologist for the Ministry.

The life cycle of the salmon is three years and at that time they return to their point of origin to spawn. “When these salmon return, if they do, in the fall of 1976, they will tell us whether or not the Don is ready for salmon stocking.”

This article was published in Seven News, Volume 5, Number 24, May 24, 1975