As one passes under York Boulevard, one is passing through part of the Desjardins Canal, named after its promoter Pierre Desjardins. The Desjardins Canal connects Hamilton Harbour to Cootes Paradise Marsh. In response to increased competition among the towns of Dundas, Hamilton and Ancaster, the canal was proposed as a means to directly connect Dundas to Lake Ontario in an effort to preserve its status as an industrial hub.
Work on the canal lasted ten years from 1827 to 1837. Dredging vessels removed sediment from the Harbour and marsh, digging a wide clean path straight through to Dundas. Although the canal provided increased prosperity in the area establishing Hamilton as a port city, its creation destroyed countless hectares of valuable wetlands.
Today, restoration efforts in Cootes Paradise focus on rebuilding lost habitat through extensive plantings of native emergent and submergent vegetation. The high level bridges crosses over the Desjardins Canal.