New Web Initiative Promotes Hamilton Ontario as the Waterfall Capital of the World

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A surprising number of Hamiltonians are not aware that over 100 waterfalls exist within the city's boundaries. Community leader and philanthropist Chris Ecklund has launched an interactive website at http://www.cityofwaterfalls.ca which, he states on his official site, "is a new initiative that will forever change the way the world looks at us and how Hamiltonians view themselves and our city."

The Niagara Escarpment provides ideal geological conditions for waterfalls to exist, and Hamilton hosts the lion's share of these natural wonders. Some, namely Albion Falls and the Devil's Punchbowl, are internationally renowned, while others (Mineral Springs Falls, Grindstone Cascade) are relatively obscure. The website includes a printable list of one hundred local falls, a total that makes Hamilton the undisputed 'Waterfall Capital of the World.'

The City of Waterfalls site that Ecklund sponsored has received a phenomenal amount of traffic since its May 19 launch. Facebook Analytics has recorded over four million impressions, and the accompanying Facebook group has seen its membership swell to over 1300. Most of these waterfalls enthusiasts are Hamiltonians, but fans from as far away as Japan have joined. There is also a City of Waterfalls weblog, and on June 18, the web team launched its fourth module: the Keepers of the Water group, which is powered by social media site Ning.com and allows members to create their own mini waterfall tribute sites. Twelve people joined within an hour of group's going live.

The site itself, which celebrates its one-month anniversary today, has separate sections for each local waterfall, with histories, bits of folklore, visitor-donated photos, and directions. Video will soon be implemented. "I love your web page," one local resident e-mailed. "Visits to the falls were an important part of my childhood here, and they're so beautiful, more people should know about them."

According to Ecklund, there is still work to be done to make Hamiltonians aware that they live in the world's waterfall capital. "I ran a poll on the Facebook's Hamilton network," Ecklund says, "and the results floored me. Over 73% of those who responded did not know about it!"

Assisting Chris Ecklund in this venture is Joe Hollick, a local waterfall enthusiast who produced three popular posters titled Waterfalls Of Hamilton Seasons", "Waterfalls Of Hamilton Autumn" and "Waterfalls Of Hamilton Spring". Hollick is part of a waterfall group which includes the Hamilton Conservation Authority, the City of Hamilton, Tourism Hamilton, Hamilton Naturalist Club, the Bruce Trail head office, Bruce Trail Iroquoia section, and Giant's Rib Discovery Centre.

"CityOfWaterfalls.ca is a celebration of Hamilton's many falls and how they collectively make our great city the Waterfall Capital of the World," Ecklund adds. He is considering donating his million dollar motor coach to serve as a traveling advertisement: with a beautiful decal applied that mixes Hamilton imagery with waterfall photos, the bus could travel throughout Canada and possibly the U.S. as well, enticing tourists to come to Hamilton.

"However, this initiative is much bigger than just a website, or even a bus," Ecklund promises. "The goal is an overall branding of our city as the Waterfall Capital. We're going to put Hamilton on the map."

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