Canada Celebrates Rivers Day: A True Canadian Success Story


It may not be a holiday with presents, chocolates or flowers and you certainly won’t find a card for it in the stationary aisle. Yet, it is one of the most important days of the year because it’s about our future.

Children release trout into a river with founder, Mark Angelo, for World Rivers Day

Founded by a BC man’s lifelong passion to preserve and protect the world’s rivers, BC Rivers Day & World Rivers Day are among the most impactful events of the many holidays celebrated annually.

The day is a testament to the history of rivers and it highlights the impact that these natural tributaries have on their surrounding communities and ecosystems. It also raises awareness about the need to educate communities about river preservation because these waterways are the lifeline to a delicate and diverse array of animals, fish and plants – not to mention humans.

The story behind the day is important too, especially to Canadian history because it involves a BC-born environmental pioneer who had a simple love for his water. This man is Mark Angelo, and it was his initiative that got the event noticed. His persistence eventually turned Rivers Day from a local event to a provincial one, and thereafter a national and international event.

Mark Angelo

Based on a proposal that Angelo submitted decades ago, the day officially became recognized by the BC provincial government in 1980 – to be celebrated annually on the last Sunday of every September.

From there, Angelo continued his mission by asking 100 B.C. municipalities to hold specific Rivers Day events. Then in 2004, thanks in part to efforts by the United Nations (who declared 2005 – 2015 the ‘UN Water for Life Decade’), Rivers Day went international.

Fast forward to 2012 and Rivers Day is now celebrated at most major rivers around the world. From participants picking up litter from the Thames River in England and a shoreline cleanup in the Ganges River in India, all the way to Russia, where a group will be out on the rivers identifying illegal dump sites. In Poland and West Africa educational programs will be launched about the value of rivers, and in Canada, the event will make a big splash around the Country, with celebrations and educational seminars in many cities where our hotels are located.

It’s a pretty amazing amount of activity…all started by one BC man with a simple mission and a whole lot of tenacity – the makings of a true Canadian hero.


For a list of BC Rivers Day events click:


To see Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites in participating Rivers Day locations, click: