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Princess Point

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Princess Point is located on the South-East corner of Cootes Paradise and is a hub of recreational activities in the area.

Fun fact! The low waterside peninsula has made Princess Point a natural gathering place for people for thousands of years. The area itself is named after the Princess Point culture which inhabited Southwestern Ontario along the Grand River region and Hamilton around 800 A.D. during which time they developed horticulture in the area. The cultivation of the "Three Sisters" - corn, bean and squash - would greatly benefit the lives of the Princess Point people and contributed greatly to the local cultural development of later generations. Recent archaeological discoveries in the area have revitalised the pursuit of historical knowledge of these and other indigenous peoples that once lived in the area.

Princess Point acts as an important cultural hub to this day connecting several trail systems, canoe launch points and recreation areas.

  • Desjardin Trail: Opened in 1996 is a paved multi-use recreational trail used frequently by runners, bikers and walkers which extend from Princess Point to The Fishway. It then becomes the Waterfront trail and ends at Bayfront Park.
  • The Fishway: The Fishway is a manmade barrier built along Desjardin canal inorder to prevent the entry of invasive species, specifically Asian carp, into Cootes Paradise marsh. For more on the fishway below.

Come out and enjoy Princess Point! Its beatiful sites and well-groomed pathway will make you feel like royalty. 

Access to Princess Point is free to all users.

Parking rates may apply.

Built in 1997, the Fishway is located at the outlet of Cootes Paradise Marsh, a short walk from the Princess Point accessed along the Desjardins Trail. As part of the marsh restoration, it is a barrier designed to keep the large non-native carp in Hamilton Harbour and out of the marsh, while maintaining the natural flow of water and native fish. After a century of decline, the marsh has improved each year since the Fishway’s installation. In 1996, about 70,000 common carp dominated the marsh; the barrier has excluded 95+% since its installation. 

 Highlights of 20 years of restoration progress as measured between 1996 and 2016 include:

  • Water clarity improved from 30 cm to 50 cm, with periods of  very clear water occurring in recent years.
  • Submergent aquatic plants increased from 0 hectares to 80 hectares.
  • Wetland plants overall increased by 105 hectares and now include 28 species (up from 8 species).
  • Emergent marsh vegetation increased from 15 to 39 hectares, mostly in the form of cattails with 14 species present.
  • Wild Rice, once totally lost, now grows in 30 locations.
  • Native Fish increased by six fold (graph below).
  • Amphibians increased from 3 to 5 species and numbers have increased 8 fold.
  • Planted over 200,000 wetlands plants (including 150,000 cattails covering 3 hectares), assisting with the re-establishment of many lost species.


Come visit the fishway during operational hours to see how Royal Botanical Garden staff sort fish! Feel free to ask questions and learn more about how invasive species impact the Hamilton aquatic environemnt!on.

Click here to visit The Fishway website!

Want more? Click here for hours of operation to The Fishway! 

Princess Point

Directions from McMaster

Directions From McMaster University: 

Please Note:

  • Running and Biking on Cootes Paradise trails is not permitted. To bike to destinations please use city road bike lanes or the Waterfront Trail.
  • When biking, please obey all traffic signals and always remember to wear a helmet.
  • Hamilton buses are free for students with valid student IDs and bus passes.