It All Began....
For decades, Hamilton was known primarily by the gritty, aggressive
nickname of 'Steeltown', which was spawned by the city's thriving
steel and heavy manufacturing industries. In 1999, however,
Jerry Lawton made Hamiltonians aware that they were also living
in the 'City of Waterfalls', a name that embodied a peaceful
alliance between urbanization and nature.
Lawton, who in 2000 co-authored
Waterfalls, The Niagara Escarpment with his son,
photographer Mikal Lawton, made a waterfalls slide presentation
to the Hamilton Naturalist's Club, organized by Brian McHattie.
It was during this meeting that he urged the promotion
of Hamilton as the 'City of Waterfalls'. Stephen Head, who
(with Bob Nixon) had created an extensive survey called 'Waterfalls
on the Niagara Escarpment', was given the task of putting
together a waterfalls list with accompanying information
and a map, as Head's compilation was the most complete
and accurate to date. This list would have its own section
on the HNC's website. Liasing with Brian McHattie, Head produced
an inventory of thirty waterfalls within the old city limits.
January 1, 2001, the City of Hamilton amalgamated with Stoney
Creek, Glanbrook, Ancaster, Dundas and Flamborough to form
the larger City of Hamilton. When this occurred, Joe Hollick
realized that this new City of Hamilton had a lot of waterfalls
and no one knew how many. He therefore began his quest to
try to find all of them and in 2002 when he had found 26,
he produced his first poster titled "WATERFALLS OF HAMILTON
featured 20 waterfalls, in the four different seasons.
2003 when he had found 35 waterfalls he produced his second
poster titled "WATERFALLS OF HAMILTON
AUTUMN" which again featured 20 waterfalls but this time
all in Autumn. Later in 2003 when he had found 40 waterfalls,
he made an application to Guinness World Records with the
claim that Hamilton had the most number of waterfalls for
an urban municipality. Guinness replied that they did not
have a category for the most number of waterfalls and was
not interested in creating a new category unless there was
world wide interest to do so.
In 2004 when Joe had found 44 waterfalls,
he approached the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) and
in particular Joan Bell with photos and information on all
44. After the meeting Joan Bell was able to hire a contract
person for one year by the name of Nadeem Paracha and his
sole job was to work on Hamilton's waterfalls. Joan Bell
and Nadeem put together a waterfalls group (which still
exists today). Joan has chaired this group from 2004 until
early 2008 when Joe Hollick has taken over as chair. The
group includes the Hamilton Conservation Authority, the City
of Hamilton, Tourism Hamilton, Bruce Trail Conservancy (head
office), Bruce Trail Iroquoia Section, Hamilton Naturalist
Club, and several waterfall enthusiasts and photographers
(including Stephen Head, Robert Nixon, Joe Hollick, and Bill
Crawford, with some contributions from Scott Ensminger of
North Tonawanda, NY). This group was able to locate 21 more
waterfalls and in 2005 all 65 were documented in the first
Waterfalls Research and Inventory Report for the HCA.
As this waterfall group continued
to exist and find more waterfalls beyond 2005, Joan was able
to hire or utilize other contract people over the next three
years such as Montfield Christian, Elizabeth Berestecki,
Jody Tait and Rebecca Roe. All of these people helped to
produce Hamilton Waterfalls and Cascades Research & Inventory
Report Second Edition dated Nov. 1, 2007. This book detailed
96 waterfalls in Hamilton and 4 in neighbouring Burlington.
In May 2008 David Wootton officially joined the Hamilton
Waterfall Group as a waterfall enthusiast and photographer,
as he was instrumental in discovering several waterfalls
in 2007 and 2008 and bringing them to the group's attention.
As of today this Hamilton Waterfall Group has located 100
waterfalls in Hamilton as per the list on this website.
During this time the Hamilton Naturalist
Club continued to update their site with the new waterfall
information and the webmasters over the four years were:
Betty Blashill, Kelly Pike and Dagmar Rudzewitsch.
Before the days of the Waterfalls Project Group, Scott Ensminger
contacted the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority in 1986
inquiring about local waterfalls. He received a list of 21
known falls from B.W. Vanderburg, the general manager. This
list and Ensminger's subsequent work were invaluable when the
Waterfalls Project Group got started, as some locations (Stevens
Falls in particular) would never have been found otherwise.
In 2008 Joe Hollick joined Chris
Ecklund in putting together the information and photos for
the City of Waterfalls website. He continues to provide images,
insights, and guidance.
Chris Ecklund and the City of Waterfalls web team gratefully
acknowledge the early contributions of Joe Hollick, Jerry Lawton,
Stephen Head, Scott Ensminger, Nadeem Paracha, and their colleagues.
Without the foundation that they built, the Waterfall Capital
of the World might never have been launched. This section is
dedicated to them.