I love living where I do in the Niagara Region of Canada. I’ve always loved being near water and I’m so happy to live so much closer to the great lakes than where I grew up. When I was a kid, I would see them every couple of weekends in the summer, now I could go see Lake Ontario whenever I want. I also love that I live two blocks and a short hike down a small ravine from a stretch of water that was originally a small creek, historically a shipping canal, and now a large river flowing into a small delta before meeting Lake Ontario.
This creek is one of my favourite places in the whole city to visit because it offers so many different types of water eco-systems. Like most of the waterways currently cutting through the city, it’s a remnant of the city’s industrial legacy, so the point where I always begin my explorations is an old, decayed and long forgotten lock from when the creek was dug out and transformed into a now-obsolete portion of the first Welland Canal in 1831 . The water here is deep, cold and thunderous with dangerous, quick moving rapids but if you walk a little further down, the water widens and slows into a calm looking river that nature has almost fully reclaimed from it’s significant nautical past. As a result of the river’s past life as a canal, the area is littered with small reservoirs and spillways for the operation of the canal that have now become little ponds, teeming with fish, frogs, ducks, geese, turtles and beavers. As you hike up the incline of the old railway, now converted to a walking path, you get a spectacular view of the delta wetlands that this river gracefully transitions into before flowing into Lake Ontario.
The whole hike takes about an hour from bottom to top and back again. Since it’s in the middle of the city, the path comes out into a light commercial area with a Starbucks about a block away. Pepper, the husband and I love walking the trail on sunny Saturday mornings and stopping in for a tea, coffee and puppuccino before heading back home.
Photos by me and Matt Harrison.