Hamilton is the Rodney Dangerfield of Ontario cities. It gets no respect. And that’s not fair.
Sure, it used to be known mainly as a steel town. And, granted, it does still have some gritty edges, although those are gradually being gentrified away.
But did you know that Hamilton is also home to 65 waterfalls? That’s courtesy of its location along the Niagara Escarpment, a landmark ridge that runs through Southern Ontario and gave us that other big cataract you might have heard of. (Hint: It shares its name with the escarpment.)
A few weeks ago, my sister Carol and I had the chance to enjoy a morning of quick hikes with guide Dave Lubrick of Grand Experiences, an outdoor adventure company. Dave was a great guide, and it was incredible what we could see just a few minutes from a parking lot in Ancaster—a town that amalgamated with Hamilton in 2001, much as Kanata et al got sucked into Ottawa.
I started the day, as usual, by getting lost (Google Maps is not the be-all and end-all, I have to say—it repeatedly told me the parking lot for Tiffany Falls was on the wrong side of the road). We finally found Dave and set out with him, and his wife and wee baby, for Tiffany Falls.
After a surprisingly short and easy hike through some impressively jungly woods—which included some rare butternut trees—we saw this.
Because its height (22m) is much greater than its width (6m), Tiffany Falls is classified as a “ribbon” waterfall. The things you learn!
My time was limited, unfortunately, so we hopped back in the car to drive to another nearby cataract. Again, just a short stroll in from a quiet residential sidestreet, we came upon the even more impressive Sherman Falls, named after the man who founded the DOFASCO steel company in 1912.
From there, we did a pretty half-hour hike through an unusual—for this latitude—Carolinian forest, ending up at a reproduction railway station designed to evoke the days of the long-gone Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway. All of these trails are part of the Bruce Trail or one of its side trails.
All in all, for the time invested (about 90 minutes), we learned a lot and felt as though we had escaped far from civilization. So the next time someone dismisses Hamilton as just the poor cousin to Toronto, tell them about the waterfalls.
P.S.: If you’d like to get a more extensive look at the Niagara Escarpment’s cataracts, Grand Experiences offers two multi-day Bruce Trail Waterfall Walks: a two-day version (19 waterfalls) and a five-day version (28 waterfalls).
Disclaimer: I participated in this hike as a guest of Grand Experiences and the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association, neither of which reviewed or approved this post.