"Hamilton Conservation Authority". When I first read those words as a recent university grad on a job hunt, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. To be honest I didn’t really know what a Conservation Authority was. And my thoughts of Hamilton most certainly weren’t that of Conservation.
I’d lived in Niagara nearly all of my life and really only knew of Hamilton as that place on the side of the QEW with all the smoke stacks. I will admit that it was a very limited perspective, but one I think many have while travelling over the Skyway bridge. It wasn’t until I started working at HCA that my view of the city (that I now call home) changed.
As part of my training as a new HCA employee, I was given a tour of our watershed which was a real eye opener for me. I learned that not only does Hamilton have trees, but there are lots of them! It also turns out that there are a lot of waterfalls here too! Those of us from Niagara Region are taught to believe that we have the most beautiful and unique spots across the NiagaraEscarpment. After all, it is the ‘Niagara’ Escarpment, but it became obvious rather quickly that Hamilton poses some pretty stiff competition.
Places like Christie Lake and Valens Conservation Areas showed me that it doesn’t take a 5 hour car ride to get out of the city and actually feel like you are out of the city. My drive to work in the Dundas Valley is certainly nothing to complain about either, and is quite a nice change from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Every now and again people will crack jokes about Hamilton, and now I find that I am the first to defend my new home. Not many people can walk out the door of their workplace and onto a hiking trail. There’s really no better way to find out what’s out there until you get out and experience if for yourself... and until you do, you truly won’t know what you’re missing.
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