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For generations, swimming in Hamilton Harbour has been unthinkable...

A century and a half of industrial waste, spills, toxic sediment, infill and sewage discharge rendered the Harbour’s waters uninhabitable by fish and other wildlife, created risks to human health and severed the community from its shoreline. The damage led Hamilton Harbour to be named the most contaminated site on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.

But today, Hamilton Harbour is slowly healing. Past industrial land has been reclaimed and repurposed. Fish and other species have returned. People stroll the shoreline. And safe swimming is indeed possible. 

This remarkable progress is due, in large part, to the persistent efforts of committed citizens. For more than 30 years, the Bay Area Restoration Council has played a pivotal role in helping the community see the potential of a Harbour where nature can thrive. 

BARC programs connect the people of Hamilton and surrounding areas to the water at their doorstep. Hundreds of active volunteers contribute their time planting cattails in marsh areas, testing water samples and monitoring the shoreline. In 2022, BARC taught more than 16,000 school children about the creatures and plants that depend on a healthy harbour and what they can do to protect this ecosystem. And as the voice of the community in the long-term plan to remediate the Harbour, BARC works with all levels of government, media and the wider public to raise awareness and shift perceptions of what is possible. 

But there is still much work to be done. Hamilton Harbour was not destroyed overnight. Nor will it be restored overnight.

Today, with its small but mighty staff, BARC continues that legacy of community-led stewardship and advocacy for the Harbour. Through BARC’s work, the community remains committed to the vision that a thriving, healthy and accessible Hamilton Harbour for all is within reach. 

With your support, we will continue to connect new generations of Hamiltonians to the water at their doorstep.

Please donate online through the CanadaHelps website.

BARC is a registered charitable organization: 892936584RR0001