Main Trail Head 8
Van Wagner’s Beach Road
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Crossroads of Culture – Intersection of trails
The Red Hill Valley Expressway parallels an ancient pathway from the escarpment to the lake. Today, travelers might scurry across the highway, on their way to or from work, going shopping, or heading to a leisurely destination. For centuries, travelers have headed down this same valley. The only difference is that when you walk the valley you can still see the beauty of nature up close. The ecosystem is still at work. It is like a silent, ever-growing world, often overlooked by those who pass by in a vehicle. This trail is designed so that you can appreciate both the engineering feat represented by the highway, but also nature’s engineers still at work.
Nearby this spot was a village of the Attewandarons, a branch of the Neutral. Samuel Champlain reported in 1615 that there was a group of Indigenouss situated between the feuding Haudenosaunee and Huron. He called them “la nation neuter” and historians have since referred to them as Neutrals. Some writers have suggested that their actual name was Attiwandaron, however, they no longer exist as a distinct nation, so we may never know by what name they called themselves. The Niagara and Onondaga Escarpments provided a homeland for the Neutral, and one of their villages was located within the Valley.
King’s Head Inn
A courthouse was built in 1794 on the east bank of the Red Hill Creek where it entered the lake. It also served as the King’s Head Inn, as an early tavern and rest stop along the Lake Ontario shoreline trail. It was known as the Court House, Government House and was used as a military depot. This was the site of the convergence of three older Indigenous trails used during the 1700s. One was called the Mississauga Trail, running from York (Toronto) to Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake); another was the Joseph Brant trail used to travel to and from his home on Burlington Bay; and the third was from Burlington sand strip to present-day John Street, at the foot of the escarpment then onward to Lake Erie. During the War of 1812, the Inn was destroyed by advancing American troops.
Protecting Hamilton Harbour
In September 1669, a ship of French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier de La Salle arrived in Burlington Bay. LaSalle first visited the Senecas at Tinaouataoua (at a located that is still unclear) showing the increasing influence of the Haudenosaunee in this region. The Hamilton
Once, the harbour was a natural landing place. However, the harbour became one of the most polluted waterways in all of Ontario. Industrial and residential wastes have washed down the red hill valley to settle in the harbour. Current stormwater management practice removes 80% of the sediment and contaminants from runoff in urban areas from rainfall and snowmelt. The goal for the Hamilton Harbour and Windermere Basin was to remove 100% of the sediment and contaminants entering from the Red Hill Creek Valley.
The Queenston Road facility receives runoff from … homes. It stores water and removes sediment each year. The end result is that the Red Hill Valley runoff does not cause any negative impacts to the Harbour and in fact contributes fewer contaminants than before Expressway construction.