UTAGA 2018 Spring GeoTrip

Wandering the Waterfront II – Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise


Tony Davis has been a leader of several GeoTrips and is one of the department’s most entertaining speakers. 

Like Toronto’s waterfront, Hamilton’s waterfront exhibits a fascinating combination of natural and anthropogenic features. Two prominent barrier beaches, the Lake Iroquois bar and the Burlington bar, mark two phases in the deglaciation of southern Ontario. The Hamilton skyline is dominated by the Niagara Escarpment, known locally as The Mountain. Its large (100 m) and steep form is marked by nearly a hundred waterfalls and cataracts. The harbour has an area of 21 km2. The main section lies behind the Burlington barrier beach. A western section, behind the Iroquois bar, is a shallow wetland known as Cootes Paradise.
Industrialization of the harbour has brought a suite of severe and challenging environmental issues. The most pressing is the accumulation of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) in the Randle Reef section. It’s the largest and most contaminated site on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.
There are several stops currently planned. At the first stop, at the southern end of Hamilton Beach, we’ll talk about the barrier beaches and look at coastal wetlands, particularly the recently rehabilitated Windermere Basin. The next stop will be in the docklands. Like Toronto’s these are scheduled for redevelopment and the regreening of these brownfields is well in hand.
The third stop will be at Cootes Paradise. Most of this wetland is part of the Royal Botanical Gardens. On the south shore is Princess Point, which has given its name to a Late Woodland indigenous culture, the Princess Point Complex. At Cootes Paradise they cultivated corn, beans and squash, and harvested fish and wild rice from the wetland.

Note – Please bring your own lunch.

Saturday, June 9th : 9 am to 3 pm Number of Participants :
min 15 max 30
Pick-up and Drop off:
Cost : $35.00 (to cover bus transportation) REGISTER HERE 
 deadline May 3rd !
Hart House, 7 Hart House Cir, University of Toronto