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Showing posts from February, 2013

Good People Make Great Parks

At a later date I will perhaps write a more detailed blog about the good people who care for the future by donating important properties for protection - in perpetuity - but for now, let's just celebrate Jon Holland's contribution to the Cootes to Escarpment system, as described in this Hamilton Spectator article.
Land in Aldershot donated for urban parkDonated land from a Burlington man is the latest addition to the ambitious plan for a “Cootes to escarpment” urban park.Jon Holland announced Tuesday he is donating about 15 hectares of green space to the City of Burlington to use as a park, in memory of his wife, Eileen.The north Aldershot property is west of York Road and south of Snake Road.Holland said in a statement he wants to see the property “protected in perpetuity” as part of the greater park system envisioned by agencies in Hamilton and Halton.The proposed Cootes to Escarpment Park System Project would connect more than 2,000 hectares of natural lands between the har…

MAPPING PARADISE PROJECT

Urban River Valley amendment to the Greenbelt Plan

Approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, Order-in-Council No. 110/2013 January 9, 2013 (effective January 10, 2013).
GREENBELT PLAN AMENDMENT NO. 1
THE AMENDMENT
The following is the text which constitutes Amendment No. 1 to the Greenbelt Plan:
Section 1.1 Context is amended by adding the following new paragraph after the 8th paragraph of that section:
“The Greenbelt Plan is structured to provide for the inclusion of publicly owned lands in urban river valleys that were not in the Greenbelt at the time the Plan was approved in 2005. These lands, while not part of the Protected Countryside, are part of the Greenbelt and these areas assist in recognizing the importance of connections to Lake Ontario and other areas in Southern Ontario.”
Section 1.2.2 Goals is amended by adding the words “Protected Countryside” before the word “Goals” in the title of the section.
The following new section 1.2.3 Urban River Valley Goals is added after the end of amended section 1.2.2 Protected Coun…

Parking Plan 1969

Another Google Earth project, this time with an image overlay of the proposed "new" west campus parking in the 1960s. I lined up the streets with the current satellite image to reveal the layout of the parking that was to displace the nature sanctuary of Coldspring Valley.

There are dates ranging from 1968 to 1975 on each parking area, indicating the phased approach to building the surface, and intended-but-never-built, multi-level parking structures.

The one surface lot was never built west of the creek, but other surface lots were added to the north of the planned lots.

If all goes according to plan, these lots will wither away over time...

Topo the world!

I don't know why it took me so long to realize this, but after learning how to use google earth image overlay thanks to an instructional video on Youtube (where else?!), and using a hand-drawn, not-to-scale trail map as my first project (the Ghost of Coldspring Valley), it occurred to me that the problems of scale were easily solved by using a topographic map image that was to scale! I laid the topo image over google earth's satellite of the area, matching perfectly the roads and railway bed on the perimeter of the valley, and presto:
I chose this level of opacity, so you can see the topo features of Ancaster Creek and the roads, and beneath (or through) that, the current google earth satellite of the area.

We can see how far McMaster pushed the creek out of the way to make more space for parking, and the round blue line near the centre of the image below the western end of Sanders Blvd representing the location of Binkley's Pond.

The pink line is a GPS track I made showin…

1859 Map

The lay of the land, or at least land-ownership in 1859. The Binkley Property with Ancaster Creek (then AKA Red Creek) snaking through it, just over 100 years before McMaster would fill in the floodplain for parking.

Interesting to note "Binkley Road" heading out of Dundas, and the extent of the marsh into Dundas, later filled in to create Cootes Drive in 1936-37.

The Binkley Road is likely the road known as Peer's Road, built in 1818, which I encountered in my research on Cootes Drive. Peer's Road followed
"Dundas Street to Thorpe Street, south across the creek to the foot of the hill, diagonally up the hill to the east reaching the top at the rear of St. Augustine's Cemetery, south along the rear of the cemetery to Desjardins avenue, thence across Binkley's Hollow to join the present Hamilton-Brantford road near what we would recognize as the T.H. & B. Railway bridge, now used by rail trail travellers over Main West." (Woodhouse, History of t…

Pre-Cootes Drive View

A 1931 aerial view of Binkley Hollow (to the left of image) and McMaster University, newly located to Hamilton from Toronto (to the right of image) - the long line that starts at the bottom of the image in the centre and curves off to the left at the top is the Hamilton and Dundas Railway that served commuters between these distinct places from 1879 until 1923, and then served the T.H. & B. railway as a freight line until 1987. Part of the railway is now a section of the paved multi-use path beside Cootes Drive.
In a few years (1936) construction of highway 8D (the Dundas Diversion) would begin on a a four lane divided highway between Hamilton and Dundas, a distance of "two-and-a-half miles".  What we now know as Cootes Drive was a project of the Provincial Highways Department under the tutelage of the Hon. Thomas B. McQuesten, the Hamilton politician who was Minister of Highways.
Interestingly, the road was deemed unnecessary by politicians in Dundas, but since the roa…