Hamilton – Environment and Geography


Because the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) runs through Hamilton, the city is home to more than 100 waterfalls. From downtown, you can ride your bike or walk along the Chedoke Rail Trail and meet up with Chedoke Falls, Tiffany Falls and Cliffview Falls, just to name a few. If you want to make a day of it, follow the “Hamilton-to-Brantford” Rail Trail to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. There, you will find even more trail loops and an interpretive centre. The Dundas Valley is stunning year-round, but fall is particularly beautiful, as the leaves change colour.

The Royal Botanical Gardens are another of Hamilton’s natural gems. At 980 hectares, the RBG is Canada’s largest botanical garden. In addition to indoor greenhouses and interpretive centres, the RBG includes the surrounding forests, Cootes Paradise (a freshwater marsh that is famous for its bird and wildlife-watching) and links to the Bruce Trail.

The Bruce Trail is a network of trails that spans more than 800 km between Niagara Falls and Tobermory. The RBG is just one of many places you will find links to the Bruce Trail as it passes through the city. If you take the trail east, you almost meet up with Eramosa Karst — a protected conservation area featuring caves that are open to the public. Hamilton’s unique climate means you can enjoy these free outdoor opportunities all year.

The downtown (or lower city) is located at the base of the Escarpment, where it is bordered by Lake Ontario to the north. This creates a sheltered environment, which means lower Hamilton experiences warmer summers and milder winters than nearby cities like Toronto, Brantford and London.

Hamilton’s waterfront is another local feature. Waterfront parkland, naturalized spaces, trails and marinas all add beauty and recreation opportunities to the city.

Photo by Kevin Patrick Robbins.