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Those who like a little water with their greenery needn’t book a hotel in nearby Niagara Falls to get their rush. With more than 130 of the cascading wonders in Hamilton, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, and the Flamborough/Dundas/Burlington area, Hamilton holds the title to “Waterfall Capital of the World”.
The website, developed with the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club after Jerry and Mikal Lawson, during publication of their father-son book Waterfalls, the Niagara Escarpment, realized Hamilton has more waterfalls than any other city, lists over 135 within easy reach. Hiking and cycling trails to access the falls, guided tours, and enthusiasts’ groups make it easy for visitors to take in the beauty. Tourism Hamilton has developed an interactive web guide, making it easy for locals and visitors to take part in Waterfall Hikes.
Eleven of the walking trails are included, including excursions to the following:
Crooks’ Hollow Heritage Walk, through the Conservation Area from Webster’s Falls to Lake Christie (6 km., 2 hours, mixed surface)
Webster’s Falls and Gorge Walk, with 2 options for more and less seasoned hikers and featuring a lovely secluded clearing for picnickers (8 km, 3 hours, unpaved)
Scenic Iroquoia Walk, featuring an old mill, falls, and glimpses of local wildlife, including deer (3.7 km, 1.25 hours, mixed.)
Great Smokey Hollow Walk(10.2 km, 3.5 hours, mixed)
Felker’s Falls/East Mountain Waterfalls Walk, including a breathtaking hidden ravine (4 km, 1 hour, mixed)
Dundas Valley Heritage Walk, featuring several historic homes/mansions and the 4x5-metre Hermitage Cascade (5.7 km, 2hrs, mixed)
Devil’s Punchbowl/Battlefield Creek Walkin Stoney Creek. Battlefield Park is a 32-acre site of a famous War of 1812 battle with a museum, the Gage Homestead, and your hike begins and ends at the awesome Devil’s Punchbowl Falls. (5km, 2 hrs, unpaved)
Borer’s Falls/Rock Chapel Walk, through a conservation area on the Bruce Trail to the Rock Chapel Sanctuary and a picnic area with tables. (5.1 km, 2 hrs, mixed)
Ancaster Village Waterfalls Walk- featuring gorgeous valleys, forests, and a series of waterfalls including the spectacular Tiffany and Sherman Falls (5.7 km, 2hrs, mixed)
The tourism website also provides guides for 10 biking trails for waterfall enthusiasts, ranging in length from 9 to 40 km. (1-4 hrs.) over paved or mixed surfaces.
Whatever you do, do not miss Albion Falls, including night excursions that will take your breath away. Once feeding Albion Mills, a 500-acre community now called Mount Albion, it was developed by a runaway British supporter during the US Revolutionary War, William Davis. A rumoured haven for phantoms and a popular destination on Ghost Walks, Albion is said to host the spirits of tragic lovers Jane Reilly and Joseph Rousseau. When the rejection of her family was whispered to have sent the heartbroken Joseph into the arms of other women, the despondent Jane wandered through the woods muttering to herself before throwing herself off a precipice in front of horrified workers. Visitors report seeing her re-enact her tragic action to this day.
Albion Falls can be accessed on foot via the Escarpment Rail Trail or the Bruce Trail, or by car via the Lincoln Alexander Parkway or via the Stonechurch Road exit from Red Hill Creek. Detailed directions can be found here.+
Looking for something to do this weekend? Architecture fan? Or maybe you never miss an open house? If you answered yes to any of the above, you will be happy to hear that Doors Open Hamilton runs this Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3.
In its 13th year, Doors Open Hamilton “...celebrates our built environment. It’s designed to foster an appreciation and exploration of both heritage+ modern architecture and adaptive re-use plus the cultural history of our community.”
Here are five sites we think are pretty cool, but with 38 to choose from, you’ll want to take a look for yourself.
223 Weir’s Lane. The Weir’s Lane Lavender and Apiary, celebrating its 5th anniversary as a small family run lavender far (with bees!), has become known for its conservation efforts. New this year is a hazelnut grove and expansion of our apiary. Join in field walks and beehive viewing. Try your hand at making crafts with lavender.
14 James Street North. Probably best known as the Tip Top Tailor or the Sirloin Cellar building across from Jackson Square.
A rare opportunity to view a heritage building about to undergo an extensive renovation that includes adjacent properties at 10-12 James N and the alley in between. The 2nd floor — closed to the public for over 35 years — will be open.
1401 Barton Street East. Home of eastern Canada’s oldest Serbian Orthodox Parish(1913), the church’s architecture celebrates the Serbo-Byzantine style. The interior features hand-painted fresco iconography and traditional woodcarving in the Orthodox tradition.
56 Ferrie Street West. Semi-detached worker’s cottage transformed into an open- concept living space. Original structural boards and scavenged wood have been re-used. The house is a showcase of “Green” products and Hamilton’s sustainable companies. Ex-sulated house, solar energy, composting toilet, rain barrels and raised- beds garden.
2301 King Street East. The Bait un Nur Mosque “House of light” purchased by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in 1998, returned to its original use as a place of worship. Explore a Quran exhibition, displays on Islamic teachings and the mid-century architecture.
Doors Open Hamilton is the signature event of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario – Hamilton Region Branch – organized by volunteers since 2003. Doors Open Partners are: The Hamilton Region Architectural Conservatory, the Hamilton Burlington Society of Architects, and Ontario Heritage Trust.+
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