List of waterfalls in Hamilton, Ontario

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The city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada is home to more than 100 waterfalls and cascades, most of which are on or near the Bruce Trail as it winds through the Niagara Escarpment. Ontario's internationally recognized Niagara Escarpment provides perfect geological conditions for waterfalls to occur, from Tobermory to Niagara Falls.

With its 30 metres (98 ft) crest, Webster's Falls is the largest waterfall within the city.[1] Tew's Falls is a 41 metres (135 ft) ribbon waterfall, and is the tallest waterfall found in Hamilton. Both Webster's and Tew's are located at the Spencer Gorge / Webster's Falls Conservation Area.[1] Albion Falls was once seriously considered as a possible source of water for Hamilton. Rocks from the Albion Falls area were used in the construction of the Royal Botanical Gardens' Rock Garden.[2]

There used to be more waterfalls in Hamilton than exist today. Many of the waterfalls in central Hamilton slowly vanished as population and construction on Hamilton Mountain increased. As well, in the early years, James Street extended south, but was interrupted by a bog at Hunter Street which eventually (1844) was drained out and graded.[3][page needed] Many of Hamilton's main buildings and factories in the north end are built on reclaimed or infilled land, which harmed the drainage of Hamilton and the water ecology of Hamilton Harbour.

Many of the falls in west Hamilton are accessible from the Chedoke Radial Trail. It is built on what was once the route for the Brantford and Hamilton Electric Railway owned by the Cataract Power Light and Traction Company (later Dominion Power and Transmission).[4] The "Five Johns", (John Cameron, John Dickenson (Canadian politician), John Morison Gibson, John Moodie, Sr. and John Sutherland), formed The Cataract Power Co. Ltd. introducing electric power to Hamilton in 1898. On August 25, 1898, power was sent twenty seven miles from DeCew Falls, St. Catharines, using water from the old Welland Canal. New industries, such as the forerunners of the Steel Co. of Canada (Stelco) and Canadian Westinghouse, were attracted here by the cheaper, more efficient power. One time this Company controlled hydro power from Brantford to St. Catharines, including the Hamilton Street Railway and the area's radial lines. Back then the city's nickname was "The Electric City."[5]

Niagara Escarpment (in red)

There are four waterfall types and they are designated as follows:

  • Ribbon – height is notably greater than its crest width; stream forms a thin ribbon of water.
  • Classical – height and crest width are nearly equal.
  • Curtain – height is notably smaller than its crest width.
  • Cascade – vertical drop is broken into a series of steps causing water to cascade down incline.

Some of the criteria used to define a separate Hamilton waterfall include: The waterfall has to have a vertical drop of at least 3 metres or 10 feet (3.0 m) either as a vertical drop or a cascade, the crest width has to be at least 1 metre or 3 feet (0.91 m) wide, the waterfall must have some natural component and not be entirely man-made; If a waterfall is beside another waterfall but coming from two separate creeks or streams, then they could be considered as two separate waterfalls and the waterfall has to be located within the boundaries of the new City of Hamilton.[6]

On January 1, 2001 the new city of Hamilton was formed from the amalgamation of the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth and its six municipalities: Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, and Stoney Creek. Before amalgamation, Hamilton had a population of 331,121 divided into 100 neighbourhoods. The new amalgamated city had 490,268 people in over 200 neighbourhoods.[3][page needed]

Waterfalls list[edit]

The Hamilton Conservation Authority maintains a web database of the city's waterfalls. The list below comes from that website, which contains 100 waterfalls.[7]

Photo Name Height Width Coordinates
Albion Falls, Hamilton,..jpg Albion Falls 62.32 feet (19.00 m) 59.04 feet (18.00 m) 43°12′01″N 79°49′11″W / 43.2004°N 79.8196°W / 43.2004; -79.8196
Blank - Spacer.png Ancaster Heights Falls 43.952 feet (13.397 m) 5.904 feet (1.800 m) 43°14′23″N 79°57′46″W / 43.2397°N 79.9628°W / 43.2397; -79.9628
Blank - Spacer.png Auchmar Falls 40 feet (12 m) 5 feet (1.5 m) 43°14′37″N 79°53′28″W / 43.2436°N 79.8912°W / 43.2436; -79.8912
Blank - Spacer.png Baby Albion Falls 28 feet (8.5 m) 3 feet (0.91 m) 43°12′00″N 79°49′11″W / 43.2001°N 79.8196°W / 43.2001; -79.8196
Waterdawn Webster Baby Falls1.jpg Baby Webster Falls 29.52 feet (9.00 m) 9.84 feet (3.00 m) 43°16′33″N 79°58′55″W / 43.2757°N 79.9819°W / 43.2757; -79.9819
Blank - Spacer.png Beckett Falls 10 feet (3.0 m) 4 feet (1.2 m) 43°14′42″N 79°53′09″W / 43.2449°N 79.8858°W / 43.2449; -79.8858
Blank - Spacer.png Billy Green Falls 55.76 feet (17.00 m) 19.68 feet (6.00 m) 43°12′26″N 79°45′59″W / 43.2072°N 79.7664°W / 43.2072; -79.7664
Billy Monkley Cascade (35596122764).jpg Billy Monkley Cascade 10 feet (3.0 m) 21 feet (6.4 m) 43°11′25″N 79°49′49″W / 43.1904°N 79.8304°W / 43.1904; -79.8304
Blank - Spacer.png Blue Falls 13 feet (4.0 m) 10 feet (3.0 m)
Borer's Falls.jpg Borer's Falls 49.2 feet (15.0 m) 16.4 feet (5.0 m) 43°17′38″N 79°56′12″W / 43.2938°N 79.9368°W / 43.2938; -79.9368
Blank - Spacer.png Broman Falls 22 feet (6.7 m) 3 feet (0.91 m) 43°12′51″N 79°48′58″W / 43.2142°N 79.816°W / 43.2142; -79.816
Buttermilk FallsA.jpg Buttermilk Falls 75.44 feet (22.99 m) 26.24 feet (8.00 m) 43°12′19″N 79°49′11″W / 43.2053°N 79.8196°W / 43.2053; -79.8196
Blank - Spacer.png Canterbury Falls 29.52 feet (9.00 m) 13.12 feet (4.00 m) 43°14′13″N 79°58′51″W / 43.237°N 79.9807°W / 43.237; -79.9807
Blank - Spacer.png Cave Falls 50 feet (15 m) 10 feet (3.0 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Centennial Falls 32.8 feet (10.0 m) 13.12 feet (4.00 m) 43°12′31″N 79°46′07″W / 43.2086°N 79.7685°W / 43.2086; -79.7685
Chedoke Falls - panoramio (4).jpg Chedoke Falls 59.04 feet (18.00 m) 29.52 feet (9.00 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Clappison Falls 23 feet (7.0 m) 10 feet (3.0 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Cliffview Falls 49.2 feet (15.0 m) 9.84 feet (3.00 m) 43°14′39″N 79°54′28″W / 43.2443°N 79.9079°W / 43.2443; -79.9079
Spencer Gorge Cons. Area Laslovarga (23).jpg Darnley Cascade 13.12 feet (4.00 m) 72.16 feet (21.99 m) 43°16′38″N 80°00′24″W / 43.2772°N 80.0068°W / 43.2772; -80.0068
Denlow.jpeg Denlow Falls 62.32 feet (19.00 m) 29.52 feet (9.00 m)
Devils Pouch Bowl Conservation Area- Hamilton-Ontario (1).jpg Devil's Punch Bowl Falls 121.36 feet (36.99 m) 9.84 feet (3.00 m) 43°12′37″N 79°45′21″W / 43.2103°N 79.7559°W / 43.2103; -79.7559
Blank - Spacer.png Dewitt Falls 22.96 feet (7.00 m) 6.56 feet (2.00 m) 43°12′24″N 79°43′06″W / 43.2068°N 79.7184°W / 43.2068; -79.7184
Blank - Spacer.png Duchess Falls 13 feet (4.0 m) 5 feet (1.5 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Dundas Falls 20.992 feet (6.398 m) 21.976 feet (6.698 m) 43°16′23″N 79°58′20″W / 43.273°N 79.9722°W / 43.273; -79.9722
Blank - Spacer.png Dyment Falls 51.496 feet (15.696 m) 13.12 feet (4.00 m) 43°16′42″N 79°56′57″W / 43.2782°N 79.9491°W / 43.2782; -79.9491
Blank - Spacer.png East Glover's Falls 19.68 feet (6.00 m) 9.84 feet (3.00 m)
Blank - Spacer.png East Greensville Falls 18.04 feet (5.50 m) 4.92 feet (1.50 m) 43°16′46″N 79°59′29″W / 43.2794°N 79.9915°W / 43.2794; -79.9915
Blank - Spacer.png East Iroquoia Falls 65.6 feet (20.0 m) 3.936 feet (1.200 m) 43°14′41″N 79°56′19″W / 43.2448°N 79.9386°W / 43.2448; -79.9386
Blank - Spacer.png East of Fifty Falls 32.8 feet (10.0 m) 4.92 feet (1.50 m) 43°11′42″N 79°38′29″W / 43.1949°N 79.6414°W / 43.1949; -79.6414
Felker's Falls - panoramio (2).jpg Felker's Falls 72.16 feet (21.99 m) 19.68 feet (6.00 m) 43°12′13″N 79°47′25″W / 43.2035°N 79.7902°W / 43.2035; -79.7902
Ferguson Falls.jpg Ferguson Falls 97 feet (30 m) 6 feet (1.8 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Fifty Road Cascade 32.8 feet (10.0 m) 3.936 feet (1.200 m) 43°11′41″N 79°38′40″W / 43.1946°N 79.6445°W / 43.1946; -79.6445
Blank - Spacer.png Glover's Falls 26.24 feet (8.00 m) 9.84 feet (3.00 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Grand Cascade 13.12 feet (4.00 m) 3.28 feet (1.00 m) 43°11′46″N 79°39′00″W / 43.1962°N 79.6501°W / 43.1962; -79.6501
Great Falls - Waterdown.jpg Great Falls 32.8 feet (10.0 m) 16.4 feet (5.0 m) 43°19′50″N 79°53′14″W / 43.3305°N 79.8872°W / 43.3305; -79.8872
Blank - Spacer.png Grindstone Cascade 9.84 feet (3.00 m) 16.4 feet (5.0 m) 43°19′42″N 79°53′13″W / 43.3284°N 79.8869°W / 43.3284; -79.8869
Blank - Spacer.png Hannon Cascade 10 feet (3.0 m) 18 feet (5.5 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Harvey Falls 52.48 feet (16.00 m) 9.84 feet (3.00 m) 43°11′59″N 79°39′35″W / 43.1998°N 79.6597°W / 43.1998; -79.6597
Blank - Spacer.png Heritage Falls 16.4 feet (5.0 m) 9.84 feet (3.00 m) 43°14′24″N 80°00′14″W / 43.24°N 80.0039°W / 43.24; -80.0039
Blank - Spacer.png Heritage Green Falls 40 feet (12 m) 6 feet (1.8 m) 43°12′17″N 79°47′15″W / 43.2047°N 79.7875°W / 43.2047; -79.7875
Blank - Spacer.png Hermitage Cascade 13.12 feet (4.00 m) 16.4 feet (5.0 m) 43°14′11″N 79°59′53″W / 43.2364°N 79.998°W / 43.2364; -79.998
Blank - Spacer.png Hidden Grindstone Falls 26 feet (7.9 m) 5 feet (1.5 m)
Blank - Spacer.png Jones Road Falls 19.68 feet (6.00 m) 6.56 feet (2.00 m) 43°12′13″N 79°41′44″W / 43.2035°N 79.6956°W / 43.2035; -79.6956

Water Quality Problems[edit]

Many of Hamilton's creeks and waterfalls, especially those in the heavily-urbanized Chedoke and Red Hill creek watersheds, suffer from chronic water quality problems. Much of these systems have been buried in large underground concrete storm sewers that run under neighbourhoods established decades ago atop the Niagara escarpment. Industrial and residential use through the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries have caused, and continue to cause, substantial environmental damage to these watersheds. While the city of Hamilton has invested in wastewater storage tanks and tunnels in recent years, as of 2020, water testing performed by non-governmental monitoring bodies continues to reveal high e. coli counts. While the City of Hamilton's website does state that some waterfalls may be polluted and discourages entering the water around waterfalls, it does not state which ones are polluted, nor does the city test the water at any waterfall locations, since it does not designate them as official swimming areas.

Chedoke Falls and Watershed[edit]

In March 2020, it was revealed that as much as 24 billion litres of untreated wastewater had been leaking into Chedoke creek since at least 2014 due to insufficiencies in Hamilton's sewerage and stormwater management system.[8] Chedoke falls is often listed as one of Hamilton's 10 most popular waterfalls, and visitors can regularly be seen swimming and wading in its waters. The Chedoke creek watershed has seen regular discharges of raw sewage for the past century; today, untreated wastewater is discharged into the river regularly during rainstorms, when the city's Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO's) and a 77 million litre concrete wastewater storage tank are incapable of handling increased water volumes.[9] The storm sewer feeding Chedoke falls has also been plagued by incorrectly-installed sanitary sewer cross-connections from the residential neighbourhoods it runs beneath. The amount of raw sewage flowing into the creek on an ongoing basis is unknown.[9] These problems are compounded by the fact that the Chedoke creek is buried in a series of concrete stormwater-and-overflow sewers for almost all of its length; indeed, Chedoke falls itself flows directly out of a storm sewer outfall, visible from the base of the falls.[10] Other waterfalls in the Chedoke creek watershed include Westcliffe Falls and Princess Falls.

Albion Falls and Watershed[edit]

Albion falls is one of Hamilton's largest waterfalls, and sees a significant volume of visitors during the summertime. All of the water flowing over the falls originates in storm sewers that drain substantial portions of Hamilton's west mountain neighbourhoods. In particular, the Stone Church Rd. Storm Trunk Sewer that drains neighbourhoods on either side of Stone Church Road East, nicknamed the "mountain juggernaut", is the largest known sewer in Canada.[11] Water from upstream of the falls emerges from various sewer outfalls, traverses the Dartnall Rd. off-ramps from the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway, and proceeds to a pond adjacent to the falls before flowing over the falls themselves. Studies in the early 2000s and 2012 indicated high concentrations of e. coli bacteria in various locations along the Red Hill creek watershed,[12] which Albion falls is a part of. A 2013 study of a Red Hill sub-watershed, the Upper Ottawa Creek, noted high concentrations of chloride, sodium, various heavy metals, phosphorus, and likely contamination from sanitary sewer cross-connections.[12] It remains unknown whether the city has addressed these issues.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hamilton- Waterfall Capital of the World". ( Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  2. ^ "Hamilton Conservation Authority: Parks & Attractions- Albion Falls". Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  3. ^ a b Manson, Bill (2003). Footsteps In Time: Exploring Hamilton's heritage neighbourhoods. North Shore Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-896899-22-6.
  4. ^ "Hamilton Conservation Authority: Parks & Attractions- Scenic Falls". Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  5. ^ Bailey, Thomas Melville (1991). Dictionary of Hamilton Biography (Vol II, 1876-1924). W.L. Griffin Ltd.
  6. ^ "Hamilton Naturalist's Club: Protecting Nature since 1919". ( Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  7. ^ "Alphabetical Search". Hamilton Waterfalls. Hamilton Conservation Authority. 2022.
  8. ^ "Chedoke Creek's sad legacy of abuse: 10 things you didn't know". The Hamilton Spectator. 2020-03-09. ISSN 1189-9417. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  9. ^ a b "Sewergate for dummies". The Hamilton Spectator. 2019-12-19. ISSN 1189-9417. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  10. ^ "Chedoke Falls Drain | Vanishing Point". Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  11. ^ "Stonechurch Storm Trunk Sewer | Vanishing Point". Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  12. ^ a b Bowes, Gord (2017-08-17). "Feces Falls? Hikers splash around Albion Falls — but should they?". Retrieved 2020-06-23.

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