Upper Sanatorium Falls, also known as Sanatorium Falls, is located on a tributary of the Chedoke Creek system. It is a Complex Ribbon Cascade with a height of 9 metres (30 feet) and a width of 3 metres (10 feet). This waterfall experiences impressive flow during during seasonal storms and after the winter snow melt.
The Mountain Sanatorium was opened in 1906 for patients with tuberculosis. It began with only two tents but soon small frame cottages were built. Later, when the fresh air treatment for TB patients was obsolete, brick and mortar hospital buildings were built. During the First World War the Government of Canada used the facility to treat soldiers who returned suffering from TB and mustard gas afflictions.
At around this time there were concrete steps on the west side of the falls and a bridge across the top which led to a long series of wooden stairs down the east side of the ravine to the Brantford and Hamilton Electric Railway Company (radial) line. This enabled the hospital staff and their families who lived on the hospital site to board the radial train for schooling, shopping, etc. in the city. There are still traces of concrete steps and abutments at the top of the ravine and of concrete columns, which supported the stairs, further down the ravine. (taken from Stephen Head’s information on the Hamilton Naturalist Club’s website on waterfalls).
Upper Sanatorium Falls is featured in the Joe Hollick poster “Waterfalls of Hamilton Spring” with a side view.
How to get there
From Hwy 403, take the Aberdeen Ave. exit and follow Aberdeen to Queen St. S. Turn right and follow it up the escarpment where it will turn into Beckett Dr. and then Garth St. Turn right onto Denlow Dr. Follow this road until it becomes Scenic Dr. Turn right onto Sanatorium Rd. and follow it to the escarpment brow. The waterfall is located at the mouth of the gorge.
To the right are two vintage postcards from the Hamilton Postcards website. One shows Upper Sanatorium Falls in winter and calls it Sanatorium Ravine. The second postcard calls it Ravine Mountain Sanatorium and shows the waterfall in spring.
Upper Sanatorium Falls Photos