Exploring Hamilton's Hidden Creek
Wolsak & Wynn
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Chedoke Creek is one of six creeks that weave their way through Hamilton, but it is the most hidden, lost to culverts and concrete. Its waters are seen only in a couple of waterfalls as it flows over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment and in a short canal where it runs alongside Highway 403.
In elegant, seamless prose award-winning author John Terpstra traces Chedoke Creek back to its source, searching through historical archives and city documents, and even walking up the great storm drains that collect the water that spills from the escarpment. He weaves the history of the creek with the lyrical observations of nature and humankind’s connections to nature that he is celebrated for, while also examining the reality of our contaminated waterways. Daylighting Chedoke is a meditation on how urbanization and industrialization has literally buried our natural environment and what it would be like to free our creeks and perhaps, while doing so, free our society.
As a part of the 2021 McMaster Discovery Program, past Student Support Team members Jess Gut and Sydney Potts spoke with John about Naked Trees, Daylighting Chedoke, and the relationship between places and stories. John shared his thoughts about writing, about his relationship with Hamilton, and - crucially - about how we might come to understand our geographic settings through a different lens, as an interdependent form of belonging, rather than simply as a thing that we use or own.
Watch the conversation
Some 20-year-old who’s never read Daylighting Chedoke made this sweet little video. It’s Paddle-to-the-Sea from Chedoke Falls to Cootes Paradise, where you hear Pete Seeger singing about his hopes for the Hudson, and where you are reminded of the 1941 Holling Clancy Holling book by the same title. There is also Bill Mason's 1966 National Film Board adaptation of the Holling book.