the HPL Special Collections Department, the Stoney Creek Historical
Society, and the Stoney Creek News for the documentation and images.
history of the Devil's Punch Bowl dates back at least 450 million
years (the late Ordovician and early Silurian periods) when materials
which form the Niagara escarpment were originally deposited in
a large inland sea. This sea most likely originated from the Appalachian
Mountains of the eastern United States.
At this point in history,
corals and other organisms inhabited the area until, as the sea
bottom deposits slowly changed to rock, these organisms became
1 million years ago, the area was subjected to four great ice
ages. By this time, the inland sea had already retreated and great
slabs of ice covered the land. Their effect on the landscape was
to either sharpen and expose the escarpment rock face or to bury
it with drift material.
the end of the last ice age there was a period of high water levels.
This is what etched the final details into the landscape of the
Punch Bowl. The water concentrated into huge streams which had
a tremendous capacity to carve out the landscape.
One of these
powerful streams plunged right over the escarpment at Stoney Creek
and carved out what would later become known as the Devil's Punch
Bowl. Eventually, there was less water available in the area to
continue the powerful stream, and its capacity has been greatly
The rate of development in the Punch Bowl declined quite
considerably after this time period, but it left a gorge that
seems almost bottomless if viewed from the safe side of the surrounding
guardrail. It has become a landmark that is famous with geologists
worldwide for its exposed rock strata.
number of stories circulate as to how the Devil's Punch Bowl got
its name. There is the possibility that it was named for the pails
of home-brew which, at one time, could be bought by the gallon
in the woods surrounding the Punch Bowl. Another story suggests
that people who saw the beautiful sight as a true work of God,
but knew that God would not want something named after himself,
decided to name it after the devil instead.
it may not have been named after God, one monument located in
the Devil's Punch Bowl is a large, 10 meter high steel cross.
This cross was erected on December 18, 1966 by a man named William
Sinclair (1925 - 1994). He felt he could bring a little light
to the world by building the huge steel monument which has 106
light bulbs along its edges and was originally planned to be lit
up for six weeks of each year, during Christmas and Easter.
since 1991, the cross has lit up every night of the year, being
turned on automatically each night thanks to donations made by
a Stoney Creek branch of the Knights of Columbus.
incredible view is offered by the Devil's Punch Bowl. It overlooks
Stoney Creek and Hamilton Harbour, and from the lookout tower
installed in 1991, there is an excellent view of the Skyway bridge.
The Punch Bowl is well-known for its unbelievable scenery and
has been the location of many television and movie shoots. In
1989, for example, television star Super Dave Osborne taped an
atomic yo-yo stunt at the Punch Bowl which left many fans breathless.
being the perfect spot for photography or a romantic picnic, the
Devil's Punch Bowl has been the scene of a lot of vandalism as
well as some suicides (at least three in recent years).
authority had to shut down the stone washroom building years ago
due to vandalism, but it is still not uncommon for picnic tables,
stolen cars, portable washrooms and lengths of fence to be tossed
to the bottom of the gorge by vandals.
Local residents have also
complained that on the occasional summer night, drunken parties
will make quite a lot of noise down in the Punch Bowl, sometimes
as late as three or four o'clock in the morning. However, regardless
of this, the Devil's Punch Bowl is a beautiful and historically
thanks to the Special Collections Department, the Stoney Creek
Historical Society, and the Stoney Creek News for the documentation