pollution, toxicity, Hamilton Harbour, Great Lakes


Hamilton Harbour is the principle port serving South Western Ontario and the Niagara Peninsula region with two of Canada’s largest steel manufacturers occupying the waterfront. As early as the 1860s fishery inspectors in Hamilton noted the fish tasted of coal, that there were dead ducks and small animals that were coated in oil from refineries. In the 1950s the Hamilton Harbour was deemed unfit for recreational use and although the state of the harbour may be slowly improving, it is far from being delisted from the International Joint Commission’s Area of Concerns designations list. This paper will first look at the history of the Great Lakes and the historical sources of pollution then specifically how this pertains to Hamilton Harbour. By looking at these histories and the various efforts aimed at delisting the Hamilton Harbour as an AOC, I will evaluate the extent to which these efforts have improved the Harbour and what that holds for its future.

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Thank you to Dr. J. Bonnell for her continued support and guidance regarding this paper.

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