Webster's Falls

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Webster's Falls
Flickr - paul bica - websters falls revisited.jpg
Webster's Falls
Location Hamilton, Ontario
Coordinates 43°16′34″N 79°58′51″W / 43.276241°N 79.980898°W / 43.276241; -79.980898
Type Curtain/Plunge
Total height 22 m (72 ft)
Total width 30 m (98 ft)
Watercourse Spencer Creek

Webster's Falls, noted for its panoramas, is a 22 metre high classical curtain/ plunge waterfall found in the Spencer Gorge/Webster's Falls Conservation Area in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The water flows down Spencer Creek. In the past the falls have been known by various names such as Dr. Hamilton's Falls, Spencer Falls, Hart Falls, Fisher Falls and Flamborough Falls.[1]

Within the associated park, there are washroom facilities, picnic tables (20) and sheltered areas at the top of Webster's Falls, as well as a parking area for up to 75 cars. The cobblestone footbridge, as well as a newer and narrower stone/concrete footbridge, crosses over Spencer Creek to the west side, which then leads to a series of 122-steps, allowing access down to the base of the falls.[2]

A less popular, but still common, area of interest at the base of the falls is found around the edge of the cascade. Under the falls is niche worn behind the curtain. Due to the cap-rock on top of the falls being made of a more resistant material, the falls are neatly slotted underneath and allow people to view the falls from the opposite side. It can however be a dangerous endeavor and should not be attempted unless one is extremely cautious. It is never advisable to venture behind the falls during winter.

The Bruce Trail runs through this area. It is popular with hikers and family picnics. Improvements to the existing trail have been made on many occasions. Other nearby attractions include a convenience store and an antique shop.

Ownership[edit]

Ownership of the land has changed several times. Originally the waterfall was known as Dr. Hamilton's falls, after Dr. James Hamilton purchased the land in 1818. The waterfall, and 78 acres (320,000 m2) of the surrounding land, were purchased shortly after by Joseph Webster when his family arrived from England in 1820. The Webster family manor still stands on Webster's Falls Road, and their gravestones have been preserved in a small section just off the Bruce Trail, on the way to Tew's Falls. In the will of former Dundas Mayor, Colonel W.E.S. Knowles, a request to the town was issued asking for the area around Webster's Falls be made into a public park. A foundation was established to channel revenue into park improvements. In 1933, the grounds were landscaped, a stone bridge constructed across the creek above the falls, and an iron fence installed to make the viewing at the ledge safer. The current owner of the land is now the Hamilton Conservation Authority.

Webster's Falls in Popular Culture[edit]

Webster's Falls, according to Joe Hollick, has the highest number of vintage postcards bearing its image; this suggests that it has been the most frequently visited waterfall in Hamilton for more than a century.

Webster's Falls is shown in the 2005 Sci-Fi movie "Descent", though it is portrayed as being an anonymous waterfall in the Pacific Northwest. During the movie a river of lava pours over the falls, nearly killing the star, Luke Perry.

Russian professor, Oleg Polyansky, was part of a team that had discovered water vapour on the sun when working in Waterloo. When giving lectures internationally about his discovery, he always uses an image of Webster's Falls as a key example.

"Baby Webster's Falls"[edit]

Baby Webster's Falls is a complex ribbon waterfall which has water mainly during seasonal storms and after the winter snow melts. Its height is 20 metres and its width is 3 metres (10 ft) It is located on a tributary of the Spencer Creek, on a separate ravine near Webster's Falls and can be seen from both the top and bottom of the gorge. It is located to the right and bottom of the stairway leading down to the base of the Webster's Falls and is often missed due to its relatively little water flow, particularly when compared to the main falls just to the left side of the stairway.

Directions[edit]

In Hamilton, take Main Street West past McMaster University and straight into Dundas. Take it straight past the library and up the hill. There are signs pointing in the direction of the falls. Admission is $10 per vehicle and the parking lot is enough for 75 vehicles.

Webster's Falls can be reached from Tew's Falls via a 30 minute hike along the Bruce Trail.[3] Alternatively, to reach Webster's Falls by car, take Highway 8 from Dundas. Keep right on Brock Road and go right at the light onto Harvest Road. Turn right on Short Road, then left onto Fallsview. Keep following the signs all the way to the parking lot.

From Toronto you can go West on Dundas Street (Highway#5) until you turn south on Brock Street (To Greensville), left on Harvest road.

Images[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hamilton- Waterfall Capital of the World". (www.cityofwaterfalls.ca). Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  2. ^ Hamilton Waterfalls and Cascades: Research & Inventory Report, 2nd Edition. Hamilton Conservation Authority. November 2007. 
  3. ^ "Great Lakes Waterfalls & Beyond: Tews Falls". (www.gowaterfalling.com). Retrieved 2008-07-09. 

External links[edit]

Maps[edit]

Video clip[edit]