Niagara Falls might be the most visited waterfalls in North America but the true ‘Waterfall Capital’ of the world lies 50 miles to the west, in the Canadian city of Hamilton. Situated in the heart of the most highly industrialized region of the country, Hamilton is also a place of great natural beauty. Its most famous natural feature are its waterfalls.
Hamilton is home to more than one hundred waterfalls—one of the highest in any urban area of its size. The abundance in waterfalls is due to the city’s location along the Niagara Escarpment, an arc-shaped ridge that passes through the middle of the city as it runs from New York, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Any river, creek or stream that flows towards the Great Lakes over the Niagara Escarpment results in one or more waterfalls.
Typical of a large industrial city focused on making steel, Hamilton’s waterfalls went largely unnoticed by its half million residents until 2008, when Chris Ecklund, a Hamilton native, founded the City of Waterfalls, a non-profit initiative aimed at promoting the city’s cascades. The locals knew about some of the city’s larger falls and visited them on the weekends as swimming holes and picnic sites, but nobody knew the true extent of Hamilton’s watery asset.
Even today, nobody can give a true count of Hamilton’s waterfalls. Chris Ecklund’s website mentions by name some 130 waterfalls, but some sources claim figures as high as 150-plus. The uncertainty could be due to the fact that only about 50-60 of the waterfalls flow year round, so the count could vary depending on the season of the year. Then, some waterfalls are on private property whose count might have or have not been accounted for. Furthermore, many waterfalls in central Hamilton has slowly been vanishing with the rise in population and construction.
Hamilton has no rivers, thus the size of the waterfalls are nowhere near the magnitude of Niagara Falls. Instead, Hamilton’s waterfalls are small, quite and serene, and there is a huge variety in them. There are cascades, ribbon-type (falls of great height and small width), the classical variety (where height and crest width are nearly equal), and curtain-like (falls of small height and very wide crest).
The most scenic waterfall in Hamilton is the Webster's Falls. The highest waterfall is Tew’s Falls at 41 meters, and the shortest, Little Davis Falls, is just 3 meters high.