Photo of Tiffany Falls by Jack Starret
Quick. When you think of Hamilton what comes to mind?
For most people it's steel mills, pollution, and industry. The Burlington Skyway has forever branded Hamilton in a one dimensional way.
The truth is a completely different picture. In reality, Hamilton is one of the greenest cities in the Country. Not only are its residential streets full of mature majestic trees, Hamilton has the luck (or privilege) of having much of its land part of the Niagara Escarpment. Indeed, what the Hamiltonians call “the Mountain,” is actually the Niagara Escarpment. The Escarpment gives Hamilton a giant swath of green and a big chunk of that is the Dundas Valley.
The valley is at the far end of Lake Ontario and carved into the Escarpment by a pre-glacial river. Due to this beautiful green space, Hamilton is the city with the highest number of waterfalls in Ontario and maybe even Canada. All of these small creeks and rivers flow over the Escarpment, as waterfalls, into the Dundas Valley and then feed into Cootes Paradise and Lake Ontario.
Last year, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation provided funding to the Hamilton Conservation Foundation to develop a visionary plan by engaging the surrounding community of farmers, residents and recreationists. From this work a five year implementation strategy is being completed.Recently, I decided to hike the Dundas Valley and in particular, the Bruce Trail, along the Niagara Escarpment, in the Valley. We had a sunny but muggy day. However, as we started walking, the waterfalls immediately struck us. Every few meters it seems there is yet another creek, waterfall or gurgling stream going over the Escarpment. All of the moisture results in a lush green landscape full with mosses, ferns and a spongy ground to walk on.
The Dundas Valley is a very special part of Ontario’s Greenbelt. It provides almost 3,000 acres of natural habitat, miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, and an excellent visitor’s centre. And it provides a cooling abode on a hot and muggy day.
Hamilton is not what it seems from the Burlington Skyway Bridge.
For more information, see: http://www.conservationhamilton.ca/dundas-valley
-- Burkhard Mausberg, CEO
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation