Cootes Paradise is located at the western end of Lake Ontario and covers almost 800 acres and contains over a dozen streams and 25 kms of shoreline.
Cootes Paradise received it's name from Thomas Coote, a Lieutenant in the King's (or 8th) regiment of Foot 1776-1781, and then a Captain in the Cumberland (34th) Regiment 1782-1787. He was stationed at Niagara in 1782 and during his time there found his way to the marsh at the west end of Lake Ontario where he enjoyed shooting wildfowl which were so plentiful in the area.
From 500 to 1000 AD the area was originally inhabited by the Princess Point people. These indigenous people were the first to implement farming to the region by planting and harvesting maize, an early form of corn.
By the 20th century human encroachment had decimated many native plant species and the introduction of carp proved disastorous to native aquatic plants. In the early 1990's Project Paradise, part of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan set out to restore a healthy wetland ecosystem.
In 2007 after many years of trying to eradicate the carp from the marsh a strong wind from the west blew all the water from the marsh out, leaving a muddy bottom. Extremely low lake levels forced all the carp into Lake Ontario through the Desjardins Canal at which time a carp exclusion grate was closed preventing their return.
Cootes Paradise is a Nationally Important Bird Area (IBA) with hundreds of species of birds using Cootes Paradise as a stopover on their migratory flights. There are more native plant species in this area than you will find anywhere else in Ontario. Today much of Cootes Paradise is under the stewardship of the Royal Botanical Gardens.
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