Thursday, January 15, 2009

Industrial Skywatch

Stelco and Dofasco, Hamilton Harbour

How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and of oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life?

Charles A. Lindbergh, 1939


I took room and board with a family in Stoney Creek in the mid 1970s when I was a physiotherapy student in Hamilton, Ontario. They were from New Brunswick and like many east coast Canadians, had moved to this province to work. The big steel mills, Stelco and Dofasco, were major employers and the man of the house where I stayed worked six days a week at one of them. Each morning his wife filled a big thermos with strong, hot tea and packed him a large lunch. She used to pack me an equally large lunch even though I was not a steel worker. During those years it would never have occurred to me to spend time at the lake front or harbour area due to the unpleasant environment and poor condition of the air and water.

Many birds are now found in the bay

The Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan (RAP) was instituted in 1992 and millions of dollars have been invested into cleaning up the water and shoreline. Artificial islands with man made shoals have been built to encourage birds to nest and fish to spawn. The value of wetlands and creeks has been recognized. Bayfront industries are cleaning their waste water before discharging it in the bay. These water discharges are warm and keep some areas of the bay ice free in the winter which benefits many birds.

Lake Ontario, snow squall approaching

I stood on this pier under the Burlington lift bridge last week and took the first two pictures toward the city. This last picture was taken in the opposite direction looking toward Lake Ontario and the city of Toronto. This waterfront is now enjoyed by many for recreation. The steel factories are still operational and provide important jobs and goods. And the important balance between the economy and the environment is gradually being achieved.

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33 comments:

  1. That's so wonderful that they took steps to ensure wildlife could live there as well.

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  2. Sometimes we think yesterday was better, but there are ways in which we have improved.

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  3. I loved this success story! It made me really happy (something going in the right direction!) so a big thank you for sharing!

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  4. It must have been a fairly cold day with all the vapor showing like this.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  5. I recall from Simon and Garfunkel: "I'd rather be a forest than a street, Yes I would, if I could, I surely would.

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  6. Ruth,

    Lovely photos of the harbor. What difference those years have made in the condition of the water and surrounding area.

    Thanks for your comments on the Grand River photos. It was COLD but beautiful and I loved seeing the ice fog. It made everything lacey, but there is none today.

    Take care and stay safe when you're out and about.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  7. That's great news! I remember the years (70's) when I worked in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area. Like you, I would have never thought of enjoying it... Now it's a nice tourist spot.

    There are some good changes taking place.

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  8. Wonderful story and great photographs. Sometimes we do get it right.

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  9. It is good to hear they took care of the area, it almost looks like the plant is making clouds on that cold day.

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  10. The city really has worked hard to make the area a better place. I've never been under that bridge but I've been over it MANY times.

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  11. Great post and very good pictures for a SWF!Have a nice weekend!

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  12. A success story in the making; thank you for writing on this topic and your observations therein. Wonderful post and lovely sky photos.

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  13. Great series.
    I love number three.
    Beautiful shot! :)))

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  14. When we went on vacation this year, we passed Stelco at around 6.30am in the morning on our way to the border, and I have to say the view was stunning. I wish I had made dh pull over so I could take a photo.

    You wouldn't think something so industrial could be so beautiful.

    Gill from just up the road from Hamilton!!

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  15. When this post first came up I thought the city was on fire! What an amazing photograph! I love the Lindberg quote. I enlarged the photos and was amazed at all the birds in the water! So glad to here that the big factories are trying to do their part to keep the water clean. Congrats on your lifers in the sidebar for Big January!

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  16. Breath-taking! Your photos have captured the stark, almost abstract beauty there, that has to be appreciated in spite of the environmental impact. All these photos are very dramatic!

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  17. Stories like this give hope that this way of doing business will become more common.

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  18. Nice shots. I really like the second one!

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  19. What a wonderful 'turn around' story this is about the shoreline and waterfront. I hate all the smoke and fumes heading toward the sky, but what a striking photo it makes.

    I enjoyed your comment on my blog about all the W W Crossbills in your area this year. Nature so often throws such little puzzling surprises toward us. I haven't seen any Pine Grosbeaks around either, and I miss them. They such lovely looking birds.

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  20. Taking care of wildlife is a plus for me.

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  21. Same issues here with the steel plants..Now they are all gone, but we haven't done as good as job as Canada in cleaning up..

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  22. I really like that last shot! It looks like a snowy runway!

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  23. Great shots, looks cold there as well.

    Regina In Pictures

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  24. Ruth you and I frequent the same lake area! I think we may be neighbors..closer than most that post SWF! Hi neighbor! are we frozen yet!

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  25. Good shot with steam rising in frosty weather!

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  26. Beautiful photos and so great to hear that there are places in the world who do the right thing by the environment. I am cetain it has made a great difference to the area.

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  27. Very nice photos! Happy weekend and SkyWatch

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  28. Very nice views captured. I like the contrast between nature and industrial. Happy week end!

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  29. Glad to hear they have turned things around. Great post, thanks for sharing.

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  30. I love a happy ending. Great photos, too.

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  31. I'm glad a balance between man and nature has been found. If you look hard enough and want it bad enough, an answer can be found..

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  32. Thanks to all my regular visitors and SkyWatch participants for your comments!

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