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Harbour Explorer

From Inlets to Industrial Land

Over the course of 200 years, Hamilton Harbour has experienced a great degree of infilling. Natural areas have disappeared, reducing the area of the Harbour significantly. Large swaths of land were filled in to create rail yards for the Western Railway in 1800s.  By 1926, infill eliminated more than two-thirds of the original wetlands, protected inlets and shallow areas. This manipulation of the land resulted in the loss of 65 percent of the original fish and wildlife habitat.

As factories and commercial enterprises continued to expand during the 20th century, surrounding inlets that remained were used as dumping sites for refuse and quickly became severely polluted. To remedy these severely toxic sites, officials filled the inlets, burying the decades of pollution. 

Photo Credit: Hamilton Public Library Archives