The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System contains a wealth of historical and cultural heritage.
Sites recognized at the national level include:
Sites recognized at the provincial level include:
Prehistory Context and Archaeological Potential
There is a long chronology of continuous aboriginal and early Euro-Canadian occupation in the Cootes to Escarpment area. Prehistoric aboriginal cultures in this area include Paleo-Indian, Archaic and Woodland, dating back from approximately twelve thousand years before present to historic aboriginal and Euro-Canadian occupations. The Head-of-the-Lake area has been a popular location for settlement for the same reasons across all cultures, including proximity to water, temperate climate, areas of elevated topography, plentiful subsistence resources, and rich soils.
There are at least fifty registered archaeological sites within the Cootes to Escarpment area, other “known” archaeological sites and numerous areas of archaeological potential. These registered and known archaeological sites range from aboriginal campsites and villages to historic trading posts and wharves, estates, military encampments and pioneer cabins.
Areas of Cultural Significance
Waterdown and Surrounding Area
The Mill Street Heritage Conservation District was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1996 by the former Town of Flamborough. The District is located in the traditional village centre of Waterdown. The area protected by the heritage designation comprises 130 properties, including a portion of the traditional commercial area, a large residential area, several churches and a cemetery.
Burlington Heights Area
The northwest entrance to the city of Hamilton, an area known as Burlington Heights, includes some of the City’s most significant heritage resources. Historical features of this area include: York Boulevard, the original road from Hamilton to York (Toronto); historical associations with the War of 1812 and remnants of defensive ramparts and earthworks; the Hamilton Cemetery, the oldest municipal cemetery in Hamilton; the entrance to the Desjardins Canal; and, the Dundurn Castle National Historic Site of Canada, former estate home of Sir Allan MacNab.
Click here for more information on our Burlington Heights Heritage Lands Plan.
The area known as Westdale is located to the west of Highway 403 and east of the former Town of Dundas. This area comprises a number of cultural heritage landscapes, including the original Westdale neighbourhood which was one of Canada’s first planned communities, with initial development in the 1920s; the historic portion of McMaster University, built in the 1930s; an area of Veterans' housing; and, another early suburban area known as the Burke Survey.
City of Burlington
During the late 19th century, the Aldershot area of Burlington was a thriving agricultural community well known for its fields of strawberries and the famous "Aldershot melon". There are over 40 buildings of heritage value north of Highway 403 in the Cootes to Escarpment Area and many more south of the highway. Burlington has designated buildings under the Ontario Heritage Act at Royal Botanical Gardens
Detailed descriptions of the ecological and cultural history and cultural and historic resources of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System can be found in the Cootes to Escarpment Park System Phase I Background Report.