The Bruce Trail is a hiking trail in southern Ontario, Canada from the Niagara River to the tip of Tobermory, Ontario. The main trail is more than 890 km (550 mi) long and there are over 400 km (250 mi) of associated side trails. The trail mostly follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, one of the thirteen UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada. The land the trail traverses is owned by the Government of Ontario, local municipalities, local conservation authorities, private landowners and the Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC). The Bruce Trail is the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada. Its name is linked to the Bruce Peninsula and Bruce County, which the trail runs through. The trail is named after the county, which was named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin who was Governor General of the Province of Canada from 1847 to 1854.
View from the Niagara Escarpment
|Length||885 km (550 mi)|
The idea for creating the Bruce Trail came about in 1959 out of a meeting between Ray Lowes and Robert Bateman, of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Ray Lowes' vision was of a public footpath that would span the entire Niagara Escarpment.
On September 23, 1960 the first meeting of the Bruce Trail Committee took place, consisting of four attending members - Ray Lowes, Philip Gosling, Norman Pearson, and Dr. Robert McLaren. Each member became instrumental in building the Bruce Trail.
Trail Director Philip Gosling was responsible for gaining access to the Niagara Escarpment. With a team of volunteers, he visited major towns along the proposed route to discuss their vision of the trail and to solicit help from landowners. Their efforts were successful, and by 1963 regional clubs were established along the length of the Trail. Each club was responsible for obtaining landowner approvals, organizing trail construction, and maintenance efforts within their region of the trail.
On March 13, 1963 the Bruce Trail Association incorporated in Ontario, and the first edition of the Association's newsletter, Bruce Trail News, was published that same year. Membership grew to 200. Dr. Aubrey Diem, an assistant professor of Geography at the University of Waterloo compiled the first guidebook in 1965. The cairn at the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail in Tobermory was unveiled in 1967 to coincide with Canada's Centennial Year.
There are many waterfalls along the Bruce trail, where streams or rivers flow over the Niagara Escarpment. Niagara Falls, by far the most famous water feature in the area, can be reached by a side trail of the Bruce Trail proper. There is also a wide range of plant and wildlife along the trail, including slow-growing centuries-old coniferous trees right on the limestone lip of the escarpment itself. The Cheltenham Badlands is a natural feature exposed by human activity, namely farming.
The Bruce Trail and the escarpment run through some of the most populated areas of Ontario, with an estimated 7 million people living within 100 km (62 mi). Golf courses, housing, and quarries are all examples of the threatening impact that this many people have on the natural environment. The popularity of the trail itself, especially near urban areas, and the careless attitude of some of its users also paradoxically threaten the quality and viability of the trail.
The trail begins in the Niagara Peninsula of Southern Ontario in Queenston, Ontario, on the Niagara River, not far from Niagara Falls. The cairn marking its southern terminus is in a parking lot, about 160 metres (520 ft) from General Brock's Monument on the easterly side of the monument's park grounds. From there, it travels through St. Catharines where it passes through wine country near the Short Hills Bench. It continues due north through the major towns or cities of Hamilton, Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills, Walters Falls, Owen Sound, Wiarton, and finally Tobermory.
It passes through parks operated by various levels of government, including Woodend Conservation Area in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Battlefield Park in Stoney Creek, Dundas Valley Conservation Area in Dundas, the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, Mount Nemo Conservation Area, Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, Crawford Lake Conservation Area, Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, and the Bruce Peninsula National Park, which is located between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron near the northern tip of Bruce Peninsula. Its northern terminus is in Tobermory, the jumping off point for Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Approximately half of the trail runs through public land. In order to make a complete connection the trail runs partly on private property and partly on road allowances. When going through private property, the BTC has made agreements with landowners to allow trail users to pass through. Using roads is not the best route for the trail. In these sections the BTC is involved in acquiring land along what it calls the 'optimum route'.
The Federation of Ontario Naturalists surveyed the route in the early 1960s, and the responsibility for maintaining the trail was assumed by the nascent Bruce Trail Association; as of 2007, it is called the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
Currently headquartered at 55 Head Street in Dundas, the BTC marks and maintains the main trail as well as many side trails. Trail maintenance includes building bridges over streams and gullies, building stairs and switchbacks to climb slopes, building stiles over fences, and rerouting portions of the trail that have become worn through overuse.
The trail is subdivided into nine sections, each with a subsidiary club:
|Dufferin Hi-Land||Mono Centre||Lavender|
Volunteers inspect, repair and build footbridges, retaining walls, stiles and handholds along their section of the route. The BTC and subsidiary clubs offer badges for those hikers who complete the whole trail or any of its sections under prescribed conditions.
The main trail is marked with the BTC logo, a white lozenge with black text and drawings for the Bruce Trail and an upward pointing arrow which does not act as a part of a navigational marker. The actual blazes for the main trail are white markings, approximately 3 cm (1 in) wide by 8 cm (3 in) high, with turns indicated by stacking two blazes off centre to indicate the direction to take. The blazes for the 300 km (190 mi) of associated side trails are similar, except they are blue.
The BTC regularly holds events called end to end hikes. These events, which are sometimes held over two to three days, challenge hikers to walk over long sections of the trail daily in order to hike the entire length of the trail within one of the Bruce Trail clubs.
The Bruce Trail has also attracted other long distance events. In 1995 distance runner Scott Turner set a record for running the trail end-to-end in 14 days, 5 hours and 58 minutes. Several runners have tried to beat the record. On July 2, 2010, Charlotte Vasarhelyi surpassed this performance by completing an end to end run finishing with a final time of 13 days, 10 hours 51 min.
On September 18, 2014, cancer survivor Jim Willett set a solo record completing the entire Bruce Trail in 10 days, 13 hours, and 57 minutes. His run was to raise funds and awareness for CPAWS (The Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society). On September 11, 2017 Adam Burnett broke the Bruce Trail solo record FKT in 9 days, 21 hours, and 14 minutes.
The Highlands Trailblazers Nordic Ski Team completed a relay-style run of the entire trail in 8 days, starting in Tobermory on June 24, 2008 and finishing in Queenston on July 1, 2008. This run was both a training event as well as a fund-raiser for the team. In 2009, two 10-person teams running continuously in an event called the Blaze Race set a new end-to-end relay record of 3 days, 23 hours and 10 minutes.
In 2012, adventure seekers, Fred Losani, Peter Turkstra, Mark Maclennan and Teemu Lakkasuo, went on a quest to raise funds and awareness for inner-city food and nutrition programs in Hamilton, as well as the Bruce Trail Conservancy as they celebrate 50 years. The adventure began September 24, 2012 in Queenston, in the Niagara region, and ended approximately one month later in Tobermory. Along the way the hikers had the opportunity to walk with students, interact via live webcam and satellite phone transmissions, and educate students about the importance of proper nutrition, healthy living, and maintaining the Bruce Trail.
Battlefield House near King Street East and Centennial Parkway in Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is a living history museum and site of the historic Battle of Stoney Creek on June 6, 1813, which was fought during the War of 1812. It was built in 1796. The house and 15.5 acres (6.3 ha) of parkland (Battlefield Park), were the property of the Women's Wentworth Historical Society, (1899-1962), and given by this society to the Niagara Parks Commission on January 19, 1962. The park was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1960.Nestled under the Niagara Escarpment, this historic site is located on 32 acres (12.9 ha) of park land linked to the Bruce Trail. Also located on the property are the Battlefield Monument and the Grandview (Nash-Jackson House) building. Smith's Knoll Cemetery is also nearby, across King Street East from the park. During the first weekend in June, a re-enactment of the Battle of Stoney Creek is held with re-enactors in full regalia, representing both the British and American sides. The 2016 event was the 35th such re-enactment.British units made a night attack on an American encampment. Due in large part to the capture of both American brigadier generals, and an overestimation of British strength by the Americans, the battle was a victory for the British, and a turning point in the defence of Upper Canada.
The museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.Bruce Peninsula
The Bruce Peninsula is a peninsula in Ontario, Canada, that lies between Georgian Bay and the main basin of Lake Huron. The peninsula extends roughly northwestwards from the rest of Southwestern Ontario, pointing towards Manitoulin Island, with which it forms the widest strait joining Georgian Bay to the rest of Lake Huron. The Bruce Peninsula contains part of the geological formation known as the Niagara Escarpment.
From an administrative standpoint, the Bruce Peninsula is part of Bruce County, named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin (Lord Elgin), Governor General of Canada. A popular tourist destination for camping, hiking and fishing, the area has two national parks (Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park), more than half a dozen nature reserves, and the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory. The Bruce Trail runs through the region to its northern terminus in the town of Tobermory.
The Bruce Peninsula is a key area for both plant and animal wildlife. Part of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, the peninsula has the largest remaining area of forest and natural habitat in Southern Ontario and is home to some of the oldest trees in eastern North America. An important flyway for migrating birds, the peninsula is habitat to a variety of animals, including black bear, massasauga rattlesnake, and barred owl.Bruce Peninsula National Park
Bruce Peninsula National Park is a national park on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. Located on a part of the Niagara Escarpment, the park comprises 156 square kilometres and is one of the largest protected areas in southern Ontario, forming the core of UNESCO's Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. The park offers opportunities for many outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and bird watching. The park has trails ranging in difficulty from easy to expert, and connects to the Bruce Trail.
The park also offers visitors vistas to view either the sunrise or sunset, the rocks of the Niagara Escarpment, and the wildlife, which includes black bear, many species of birds, wild orchids, massasauga rattlesnake, and much more.
The park was the subject of a short film in 2011's National Parks Project, directed by Daniel Cockburn and scored by John K. Samson, Christine Fellows and Sandro Perri.Cheltenham Badlands
Cheltenham Badlands is a small example of badlands formation in Caledon, Ontario.
The site is located on the south east side of Olde Base Line Road, between Creditview and Chinguacousy Roads, west of Highway 10 in Caledon, and features exposed and eroded Queenston Shale. The formation is located along the Niagara Escarpment.Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation formerly "Cape Croker" is an Ojibway First Nations band in the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. Along with the Saugeen First Nation, they form the Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway Territory. Chippewas of Nawash currently has a population of 700 individuals living on the reserve; however, the band roll has approximately 2080 registered in total. The size of all reserves is 71.83 km² (27.73 sq. mi.). The First Nation has 3 reserves, Neyaashiinigmiing 27, Cape Croker Hunting Ground 60B and Saugeen and Cape Croker Fishing Islands 1.Cochrane Road (Hamilton, Ontario)
Cochrane Road is a two-way Lower City collector road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It starts off at the Queenston Traffic Circle and travels South between the Bartonville and Glenview neighbourhoods right through to the Rosedale neighbourhood where it ends at Greenhill Avenue in front of Rosedale Park. From this point onwards the road is now known as Whitehouse Road and weaves its way through King's Forest Golf Course and King's Forest Park.Devil's Punch Bowl (Hamilton, Ontario)
Devil's Punch Bowl is a 37-metre ribbon waterfall on the Niagara Escarpment, in the Stoney Creek community of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is found in the Devil's Punchbowl Conservation Area, maintained by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, and features an escarpment access trail with connections to a recently improved section of the Bruce Trail. Stoney Creek's Dofasco 2000 Trail is nearby. The Punch Bowl is also known as Horseshoe Falls for the distinctive shape of the cliff-face, which somewhat resembles its much larger cousin in Niagara Falls.
In addition to the 800 km-long Bruce Trail, nearby attractions include the historic Battlefield House Museum and Nash-Jackson House; on Lake Ontario, Fifty Point Conservation Area and Confederation Park; and Mohawk Sports Park and the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology in the city proper. There's also a convenience store, restaurant, motel, gas station and retail stores nearby.Lower Punch Bowl Falls is a curtain waterfall located a few metres north of the Punch Bowl, spanning 7 metres in height and width.Dundurn Street (Hamilton, Ontario)
Dundurn Street is a Lower City arterial road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is a two-way street that starts off at Mountain Face Park, Niagara Escarpment in front of the Bruce Trail as a collector road, right behind Hillcrest Avenue and then turns into a four lane thoroughfare from Aberdeen Avenue northward to York Boulevard where it ends in front of Dundurn Park.
The section of Dundurn Street north of Main Street was designated as part of Highway 2, until January 1, 1998.Felker's Falls
Felker's Falls is a 22-metre-high (72 ft) ribbon-style waterfall found at the Felker's Falls Conservation Area, a small park within a subdivision in Stoney Creek in East Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The Bruce Trail passes by the top of the falls and from there you get a clear view of lower Stoney Creek and Lake Ontario.Nearby attractions include the Bruce Trail, Little Davis Falls, Battlefield House Museum. Felker's Falls Conservation Area is a small park that lies between the Devil's Punch Bowl (east) and King's Forest Golf Course and Park (west).
This area is also much more accessible now that the trail has been paved.Geography of Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is located on the western end of the Niagara Peninsula and wraps around the westernmost part of the Lake Ontario, most of the city including the downtown section are on the south shore. Situated in the geographic centre of the Golden Horseshoe and is roughly the midway point between Toronto and Buffalo. The two major physical features are Hamilton Harbour marking the northern limit of the city and the Niagara Escarpment running through the middle of the city across its entire breadth, bisecting the city into 'upper' and 'lower' parts.According to all records from local historians, this district was called "Attiwandaronia" by the native Neutral people. The first aboriginals to settle in the Hamilton area called the bay Macassa, meaning beautiful waters. Hamilton is one of 11 cities showcased in the book, "Green City: People, Nature & Urban Places" by Quebec author Mary Soderstrom, which examines the city as an example of an industrial powerhouse co-existing with nature. Soderstrom credits Thomas McQuesten and family in the 1930s who "became champions of parks, greenspace and roads" in Hamilton.Burlington Bay is a natural harbour with a large sandbar called the Beachstrip. This sandbar was deposited during a period of higher lake levels during the last ice age, and extends southeast through the central lower city to the escarpment. Hamilton's deep sea port is accessed by ship canal through the beach strip into the harbour and is traversed by two bridges, the QEW's Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway and the lower Canal Lift Bridge.Between 1788 and 1793, the townships at the Head-of-the-Lake were surveyed and named. The area was first known as The Head-of-the-Lake for its location at the western end of Lake Ontario. John Ryckman, born in Barton township (where present day downtown Hamilton is), described the area in 1803 as he remembered it: "The city in 1803 was all forest. The shores of the bay were difficult to reach or see because they were hidden by a thick, almost impenetrable mass of trees and undergrowth...Bears ate pigs, so settlers warred on bears. Wolves gobbled sheep and geese, so they hunted and trapped wolves. They also held organized raids on rattlesnakes on the mountainside. There was plenty of game. Many a time have I seen a deer jump the fence into my back yard, and there were millions of pigeons which we clubbed as they flew low."
George Hamilton, a settler and local politician, established a town site in the northern portion of Barton Township in 1815. He kept several east–west roads which were originally Indian trails, but the north–south streets were on a regular grid pattern. Streets were designated "East" or "West" if they crossed James Street or Highway 6. Streets were designated "North" or "South" if they crossed King Street or Highway 8. The overall design of the townsite, likely conceived in 1816, was commonplace. George Hamilton employed a grid street pattern used in most towns in Upper Canada and throughout the American frontier. The eighty original lots had frontages of fifty feet; each lot faced a broad street and backed onto a twelve-foot lane. It took at least a decade for all of the original lots to be sold, but the construction of the Burlington Canal in 1823, and a new court-house in 1827 encouraged Hamilton to add more blocks around 1828–9. At this time, he included a market square in an effort to draw commercial activity onto his lands, but the natural growth of the town was to the north of Hamilton's plot.The Hamilton Conservation Authority owns, leases or manages about
4,500 hectares (11,100 acres) of land with the City operating 1,077 hectares (2,661 acres) of parkland at 310 locations. Many of the parks are located along the Niagara Escarpment, which runs from Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in the north, to Queenston at the Niagara River in the south, and provides views of the cities and towns at the western end of Lake Ontario. The hiking path Bruce Trail runs the length of the escarpment. Hamilton 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.Grimsby, Ontario
Grimsby is a town on Lake Ontario in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada. Grimsby is a part of the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area. It is named after the English fishing town of Grimsby in north-east Lincolnshire. The majority of residents reside in the area bounded by Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment. The escarpment (colloquially known as 'the mountain') is home to a section of the Bruce Trail.Grimsby has experienced significant growth over the past decade as the midpoint between Hamilton and St. Catharines. Growth is limited by the natural boundaries of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment. Some residents feel development is detrimental to the town as orchards close to the town centre are used for residential development; however, most of the orchards in Grimsby were replaced by houses between the 1950s and 1980s and very few orchards remain.Some notable attractions in Grimsby are the local skatepark, the Grimsby Museum, the Grimsby Public Library, the Grimsby Public Art Gallery, the West Niagara YMCA, the Danish Church and the hockey arena (Peach King Centre), home of the Grimsby Peach Kings.Kenilworth Avenue (Hamilton, Ontario)
Kenilworth Avenue, is a Lower City arterial road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It starts off at the Kenilworth Traffic Circle and Kenilworth Access, a mountain-access road at the base of the Niagara Escarpment (mountain) and is a two-way street throughout stretching northward through the city's North End industrial neighbourhood where it then flows underneath the Burlington Street bridge and right into Dofasco's (steel company) Industrial Park.Limehouse, Ontario
Limehouse is a community in the Town of Halton Hills in southern Ontario, Canada. it has a population of about 800 people and its closest neighbours are Georgetown and Acton. Limehouse has many hills, trails and even a small school.Lion's Head Provincial Park
Lion's Head Provincial Park is a nature reserve in Ontario, Canada, located near the town of Lion's Head on Georgian Bay. The park contains portions of the Niagara Escarpment and is noted for its glacial features, especially potholes. Part of the Bruce Trail runs through the park.List of waterfalls in Hamilton, Ontario
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.
The most scenic waterfall in Hamilton is Webster's Falls. With its 30 metres (98 ft) crest, it is the largest waterfall within the city. 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. 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.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. 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). 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."
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.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.Mount Nemo Conservation Area
The Mount Nemo Conservation Area in Burlington, Ontario is a conservation area owned and operated by Conservation Halton. It is popular with rock climbers in the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe, along with nearby Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. Its five kilometers of hiking trails connect with the Bruce Trail.Queen Street (Hamilton, Ontario)
Queen Street is a Lower City arterial road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It starts off at Beckett Drive, a mountain-access road in the city and is a two-way street up to Herkimer Street and a one-way street (Southbound) the rest of the way north up to the Canadian National Railway Yard where the road turns right, merging with Stuart Street which travels in a west–east direction.Wentworth Street (Hamilton, Ontario)
Wentworth Street is a Lower City arterial road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It starts off at the base of the Niagara Escarpment (mountain) on Charlton Avenue East just south of the CP lines and runs right through the city's North End industrial neighbourhood and ends north of Burlington Street East at Pier 14, which one time was used by International Harvester (1902–1992).
From 1971 to 2016 it was a one-way street southbound-only from just north of Delaware Avenue to Barton Street East. It was decided to revert it back to two-way traffic in an effort to make it less of a "freeway" and more pedestrian friendly.Wiarton Airport
Wiarton Airport, (IATA: YVV, ICAO: CYVV), is located 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km; 1.7 mi) east of Wiarton, Ontario, Canada.
Wiarton Airport is classified as an airport of entry by the Canada Border Services Agency on a call out basis from the Waterloo International Airport on weekdays and the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport on weekends during the summer months for general aviation aircraft with no more than 15 passengers. It serves as an important part of the overall infrastructure for the Bruce Peninsula. The airport is used for training purposes from many flight schools throughout Ontario. The town of Wiarton and the famous Bruce Caverns are easily accessible from the airport. There is accommodation available within walking distance. The Bruce Trail is located on the northern portion of the airport.