While researching for my next book, I found this snippet about Burlington Bay/Hamilton Harbour, written by Elizabeth Graves Simcoe just a few years before the 18th century:
The sand cliffs on the north shore of Burlington Bay look like red rocks. The beach is like a park covered with large, spreading oaks. At eight o'clock we set out in a boat to go to Beasley's, at the head of Burlington Bay, about eight miles. The river and bay were full of canoes; the Indians were fishing; we bought some fine salmon of them. When we had near crossed the bay, Beasley's house became a very pretty object. We landed at it, and walked up the hill, from whence is a beautiful view of the lake, with wooded points breaking the line of shore and Flamborough in the background.
And just in case you are more of a visual person, here's a before and after.
Simcoe's description jolted me. I guess, with all the drives I've taken over the bay bridge, with all the jokes about Hamilton's smog and grit, it's easy to forget that this area wasn't always the centre of industry it's been for so long. Thank you, Elizabeth Graves Simcoe, for this reminder.
Erin Bedford, writer.