Daylighting Chedoke: Exploring Hamilton's Hidden Creek
175 pages | ISBN 978-1-928088-72-1
**Winner of the Kerry Schooley Award – Hamilton Literary Awards**
Chedoke Creek is one of six creeks that weave their way through Hamilton, but it is the most hidden, lost to culverts and concrete. Its waters are seen only in a couple of waterfalls as it flows over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment and in a short canal where it runs alongside Highway 403.
In elegant, seamless prose award-winning author John Terpstra traces Chedoke Creek back to its source, searching through historical archives and city documents, and even walking up the great storm drains that collect the water that spills from the escarpment. He weaves the history of the creek with the lyrical observations of nature and humankind’s connections to nature that he is celebrated for, while also examining the reality of our contaminated waterways. Daylighting Chedoke is a meditation on how urbanization and industrialization has literally buried our natural environment and what it would be like to free our creeks and perhaps, while doing so, free our society.
Book Review: John Terpstra’s Daylighting Chedoke (Stephen Near, Beyond James, 19/09/2022)
"Although one could read the book as a meditation on how urbanization has buried so much of our natural environment, it reads even stronger when Terpstra links his discoveries to recollections of his own past. But these recollections are never morose. Indeed, they serve to shine a brilliant personal light in the dark that elevates the author’s act of 'daylighting' to something much more profound and sacred."
Lament and Hope for Hamilton in Chedoke Creek (James Dekker, Christian Courier, 22/07/2019)
"Terpstra writes this and other love songs to Hamilton partly as lament, partly as a challenging rebuke to himself and our race to clean up our environmental act."
Finding meaning in a buried creek (James Grainger, The Toronto Star, 22/12/2018)
"Chedoke Creek functions, in Terpstra's multi-layered, meditative prose, as a microcosm of Hamilton's growth from a distinct urban space surrounded by farmland to a typical North American city, sprawling beyond its old borders into nebulous suburbs and ex-burbs that devour the countryside."
The Environmental Urbanist episode for 2019-12-17 (Jason Allen, The Environmental Urbanist, 17/12/2019)
An interview with John about a city dweller's complex relationship with water.
Daylighting Chedoke Author John Terpstra on Scattering Seeds for a Great Title (Open Book, 10/01/2019)
An Entitled Interview with John.
E104 with JOHN TERPSTRA (Jamie Tennant, Get Lit, 15/11/2018)
Jamie interviews John about Daylighting Chedoke.
"Daylighting Chedoke" wins big at the Hamilton Literary Awards (Laura Brody, CHCH News, 10/12/2019)
"A book about Hamilton’s Chedoke Creek has won big at last night’s Hamilton Literary Awards. Daylighting Chedoke by John Terpstra takes readers to the source and flow of the creek, exposing it’s natural course which was developed over many decades ago."
Large Westdale student residence a step closer (Steve Buist, the Hamilton Spectator, 05/09/2018)
"That slope is more than meets the eye," said John Terpstra, one of the delegates who addressed the proposal. "I don't want to see any more of Chedoke valley filled in [...] Enough is enough."
About the Author
John Terpstra is the author of ten books of poetry and four books of non-fiction. He often plays in that zone where human beings interact with nature – nature in the city, not the country. The nature he gravitates toward is one that has some experience of us, has had to live with us and our demands, and is no longer pure or whole or perfect, but still somehow manages to be itself – maybe even more than when it was "wild." He is interested in how the natural geography and built geography integrate and relate to each other, in how history is simultaneous with now. Daylighting Chedoke is a companion book to the two earlier books about Hamilton as a living, breathing geographical location, Falling into Place and The House with the Parapet Wall. He lives in Hamilton, ON.
Other Titles by this Author
Naked Trees (2012)
This Orchard Sound (2014)