Waterfall Capital of the World

Webster's Falls
Webster's Falls
Albion Falls
Albion Falls
Billy Monkley Cascade in Summer
Billy Monkley Cascade in Summer
Lower Glendale Falls in Autumn
Lower Glendale Falls in Autumn
Devil's Punch Bowl in winter with a cone of ice
Devil's Punch Bowl in winter with a cone of ice
Hunter Falls with ice forming at sunset
Hunter Falls with ice forming at sunset
Buttermilk Falls in Spring
Buttermilk Falls in Spring
Upper Sydenham Falls in Autumn
Upper Sydenham Falls in Autumn
Ice climbers at Tiffany Falls
Ice climbers at Tiffany Falls
Little Davis Falls in Autumn.
Little Davis Falls in Autumn.
Tews Falls in November with ice beginning to form at the bottom.
Tews Falls in November with ice beginning to form at the bottom.
Albion Falls at night under colored spotlights.
Albion Falls at night under colored spotlights.
Great Falls at night under colored spotlights.
Great Falls at night under colored spotlights.
Sherman Falls at night under colored spotlights.
Sherman Falls at night under colored spotlights.
Poster showing 20 of Hamilton's waterfalls with one row for each of the four seasons.
Poster showing 20 of Hamilton's waterfalls with one row for each of the four seasons.
Poster showing 20 of Hamilton's waterfalls in Autumn
Poster showing 20 of Hamilton's waterfalls in Autumn
Poster showing 20 of Hamilton's waterfalls in springtime
Poster showing 20 of Hamilton's waterfalls in springtime

If a person does a Google search on the Internet with the words “Waterfall Capital of the World”, it will come up with “Hamilton - the Waterfall Capital of the World”.

Why is this? Well, the Niagara Escarpment (nickname is The Giant's Rib) which is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, runs through the entire length of Hamilton and every creek, stream, drainage swale, and storm sewer system (which have replaced several creeks) that flow in Hamilton towards Lake Ontario over the Niagara Escarpment, can result in one or more waterfalls or cascades.

Over 100 waterfalls and cascades have been found (142 at last count as of May 2011), documented and photographed in Hamilton. It is believed that Hamilton has the most number of waterfalls and cascades of any urban center of its size (500,000 people) in the world and thus is referred to as “The Waterfall Capital of the World”.

While driving over the Skyway Bridge (at the southern end of Lake Ontario) from Toronto in the north (one hour away) towards Hamilton, most people only see industry - the steel factories and all their smoke stacks. However if you look beyond, into the distance, you will see a tree line escarpment which runs through the entire length of Hamilton. In this tree lined escarpment wall are the waterfalls!

There are no rivers in Hamilton, thus the size of the waterfalls are nowhere near the magnitude of Niagara Falls, located one hour away towards the southeast, however these smaller waterfalls and cascades offer something different; serenity, solitude and a personal interaction with the falls which is not possible at Niagara Falls.

The Bruce Trail (with its several side trails) along with the Chedoke Radial Trail at the Chedoke Civic Golf Course follow the escarpment and do provide access to numerous waterfalls. It should be noted however, that many waterfalls have seasonal dry periods due to their small catchment areas but at least 30 have year round flow making a visit at anytime of the year worthwhile.

Hamilton’s waterfalls are not just for viewing one time or in good weather. The views change drastically in all four seasons for the majority of these waterfalls and cascades. For example; at Tiffany Falls, ice climbing is permitted during the winter as ice completely covers this waterfall. Or if water flows are slightly reduced in drier periods, you can actually walk behind a few of them and stay dry such as at Buttermilk Falls.

The highest waterfall in Hamilton is Tew’s Falls at 41 m or 135 ft. and the shortest that is considered a waterfall for Hamilton’s list is 3 m or 10 ft. which is Little Davis Falls.

One of the most popular waterfall sites is Webster’s Falls (the widest at 100 ft. or 30 m.), as it is situated in a large park area.

Another twist to exploring Hamilton's waterfalls is being done by Chris Ecklund and his group of waterfallers (www.cityofwaterfalls.ca) where they have been lighting up different waterfalls each night with colored spotlights. This takes a bit of work to set up the battery powered colored spotlights safely in the dark around the waterfall. Check out the photos on the side of Albion Falls, Great Falls and Sherman Falls, all in Hamilton at night!

You may notice the waterfall posters depicted with this article. Currently there are three of them, Waterfalls of Hamilton Seasons, Waterfalls of Hamilton Autumn and Waterfalls of Hamilton Spring. Each poster shows 20 of Hamilton's waterfalls, the first one in the four seasons, the next in Autumn and the third in Springtime. This Spring poster won the 2008 Ontario Tourism Award for Best Travel Photography in Ontario!


If you wish to visit some of these waterfalls in Hamilton, the best way to find them is to visit one of the following websites:

http://www.cityofwaterfalls.ca/

The above website calls Hamilton “The Waterfall Capital of the World” and has information on about 126 waterfalls and cascades located in Hamilton.

http://www.waterfalls.hamilton.ca/

The official City of Hamilton website (above) has information on approximately 100 waterfalls and cascades.

http://www.giantsrib.ca/

The Giant's Rib Discovery Centre website (above) features a slideshow of all 142 waterfalls and cascades located in Hamilton and show the diversity and beauty of Hamilton’s falls.

If you would like to see more of my photos of Hamilton's waterfalls, here is a link to them on my Panoramio site: http://www.panoramio.com/user/5399338/tags/Waterfalls%20of%20Hamilton

Happy waterfalling!

Comments 4 comments

Pierre 7 years ago

Congratulations on an interesting hub and some truly fine photographs! Perhaps you would also care to share your corner of the World with the travel community at trivago?

Regards from Cape Town, Pierre


Joseph Hollick profile image

Joseph Hollick 7 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada Author

Thanks for the nice comments Pierre.

I have not heard of trivago before but I will have to investigate it and maybe I can contribute to it as well.

Joe from Hamilton


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

This is a beautiful hub about the "waterfall capital of the world." I saw Niagra Falls from both the Canadian and American side when I was a kid...but these others look as though they would definitely invite a visit. Thanks for showing them to us. Voted up and interesting as well as beautiful.


Joseph Hollick profile image

Joseph Hollick 4 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada Author

Thanks Peggy for your comments!

Niagara Falls is definitely worth a visit and if you do visit it again, hopefully you can find time to visit a few of Hamilton's waterfalls which are just an hour away.

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