Currents of Change exhibit, celebrating the Grand River opens at McDougall Cottage

Posted On Tuesday June 04, 2024

Waterloo Region, ON – Currents of Change: Inspiring Action Along the Grand River, a new exhibit from the Region of Waterloo Museums, is now open at McDougall Cottage Historic Site. With a blend of history, ecology, Indigenous and settler narratives, Currents of Change examines the profound and dynamic connection between the Grand River, Waterloo Region’s heritage, and our collective future. 

Through consultations with Indigenous communities, conservation organizations and historical resources, Currents of Change shares the timeline of the river as a sacred gift to Indigenous communities, a resource for commerce for early colonial settlers, and an important water source now. Featuring colourful information panels, overlays on the cottage floors and interactive elements, Currents of Change aims to raise environmental awareness and stewardship, and encourage residents to contribute to preserving and restoring this natural resource.

“The Grand River is a vital resource for our community that is important ecologically, culturally and historically,” said Karen Redman, Chair of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. “As a key source of municipal drinking water, and a point of community pride and identity, the Region of Waterloo is dedicated to preserving our rivers, not just now, but for future generations of residents, by outlining policies like the Grand River Source Protection Plan which protects our drinking water.”

Stretching from Dundalk to Lake Erie, the Grand River watershed is home to one million people, 90 species of fish, and 250 species of birds. It is also a main source of drinking water for these populations. The exhibit highlights the Grand’s significance and creates a greater awareness of the river while educating the community on the work being done to protect it.

“It was a privilege to collaborate with members of the Indigenous community and other local stakeholders on the Currents of Change exhibit,” said Michelle Bartlett, Currents of Change Curator and McDougall Cottage’s Head of Content and Experience. “Everyone’s willingness to share their knowledge and perspectives ensured we included diverse voices while honouring the collective responsibility to steward the Grand River for future generations.”

McDougall Cottage is located directly on the banks of the Grand and was the home of two settler families - the McDougall’s and the Bairds – who, like many others, were drawn to the area because of the opportunities that the industries developed along the river offered.  

Currents of Change: Inspiring Action Along the Grand Riveris now open at McDougall Cottage Historic Site.
Hours: Open Friday to Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.

Exhibit runs until: December 14, 2025

To learn more, visit