Dundas Valley Conservation Area

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Dundas Valley Conservation Area
Entrance to the Conservation Area in October 2020
Nearest cityHamilton, Ontario
Coordinates43°14′15″N 79°59′38″W / 43.23750°N 79.99389°W / 43.23750; -79.99389Coordinates: 43°14′15″N 79°59′38″W / 43.23750°N 79.99389°W / 43.23750; -79.99389
Area1200 ha
Governing bodyHamilton Conservation Authority

Dundas Valley Conservation Area is located on the Niagara Escarpment in Dundas, Ontario, a constituent community of Hamilton, Ontario, and is owned and operated by the Hamilton Conservation Authority. Its 40-kilometre trail system provides a connection to the Bruce Trail.[1] The area contains a trailhead of the Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge Trails, Canada's first fully developed interurban multi-use trail system, which is a part of the Trans Canada Trail.[2]


The origins of the Dundas Valley, the main feature of the area, date back to the pre-glacial times, when the Niagara Escarpment was deeply incised by erosion.[3] The Wisconsin Glaciation furthered the erosion processes and resulted in deposition of glacial and glaciolacustrine sediments, forming the hummocky kame and kettle topography of the present.[4]

Cultural heritage[edit]

Sulphur Springs Hotel[edit]

A sulphurous spring found in the area was the site of the Sulphur Springs Hotel built during the late 1880s. As sulphur was believed to possess wondrous curative powers, the hotel's mineral spa was a very popular summertime destination.[5] The hotel closed down in 1910 after it was ravaged by two fires. The spring flows from a fountain first built in 1820 from cast iron. In 1850, it was replaced by a cement fountain. Having crumbled, it was restored in 1972.

The Hermitage[edit]

A magnificent stone mansion was built in 1855 by George Gordon Browne Leith, an immigrant from Scotland. Construction materials were obtained locally. Bricks originated from the Dundas Valley clay; limestone was quarried at the Credit River valley.[5] The Hermitage burned down in 1934. After that, Leith's daughter built a much smaller house among the ruins and lived there until her death in 1942. To prevent further deterioration, the ruins were stabilized using wooden braces.

Trail Centre[edit]

The Trail Centre.

A modern replica of a Victorian railway station serves as the area's Trail Centre. Adjacent to it is a remnant of the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway track, with a 1929 executive coach car and a 1931 baggage car donated by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The track was converted into an interurban rail trail, having been abandoned in 1988.

The Giant Rib Discovery Centre is located in the Trail Centre. Open on weekends, the Centre features natural history displays and education programs about the Niagara Valley Escarpment.


  1. ^ "Dundas Valley Conservation Area Brochure" (PDF). Hamilton Conservation Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  2. ^ "Rail Trail Link Brochure" (PDF). Hamilton Conservation Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  3. ^ "Dundas Valley". Carolinian Canada. Archived from the original on 2008-06-22. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  4. ^ "Natural Areas Report: DUNDAS VALLEY FORESTS". Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2008-08-10.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Dundas Valley Conservation Area - Main loop Trail Guide" (PDF). Hamilton Conservation Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2014. Retrieved 2008-08-10.

External links[edit]