Canal Park viewing platform completes conservation vision for former greenhouse property in Dundas

With grants from the Hamilton Future Fund and John Deere Foundation of Canada, a viewing platform now connects visitors to the edge of the Desjardins Canal.

On a chilly Saturday in September, Foundation donors and community volunteers gathered to celebrate the completion of a new viewing platform at Canal Park. The crowd was treated to an afternoon of classical guitar with local musician Gary Santucci.

The event, paid for by an anonymous donor, capped off the final stage in the long-term vision for the former Veldhuis Greenhouses proprety. The property is situated in an ideal location between urban downtown Dundas, the Royal Botanical Gardens natural lands and the larger Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.

Volunteers Brian Baetz, Joanna Chapman and Ben Vanderbrug had a vision to turn what had become a derelict brownfield site into a large-scale naturalization project. They connected Hamilton Conservation Authority with the vision for this property and encouraged the fundraising campaign which brought it to fruition.

The property connects urban Dundas and Hamilton with the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System and its 3,900 hectares of natural lands.

While it may look like a haphazard collection of weeds, shrubs and trees, the site is actually the result of a landscape plan that sought to provide miniature examples of the grassland, wetland and oak savannah ecosystems which are found throughout the diverse lands that make up the EcoPark System.