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Man arrested following an attack on Caleb’s Walk
Hamilton is home to a number of hiking trails and waterfalls, providing community members with the opportunity to head outdoors and enjoy nature views. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor activities have also garnered rising popularity as people search for activities and recreation to entertain themselves with.
However, heavily wooded areas in Hamilton have also been susceptible to dangerous activity in the last several years. Given the popularity of hiking among the student body, students at McMaster University should remain aware of the potential dangers associated with visiting trails.
Most recently on Sept. 30, 2021, an individual was assaulted while walking alone on Caleb’s Walk trail. Caleb’s Walk is one of the many trails of the Cootes Paradise sanctuary and is located next to the Westdale neighbourhood, off of Dalewood Crescent and Oak Knoll Drive.
Hamilton Police Service released a request for assistance in identifying the assault suspect the next day, detailing suspect descriptions and asking residents to review their video surveillance footage.
On Oct. 5, 28-year-old Tony Robert Gordon was arrested for the assault. Gordon is facing charges of assault causing bodily harm, four counts of failing to comply with probation and drug possession.
According to HPS, the assault was a random attack of violence.
Unfortunately, this assault was not the only one that has taken place in Hamilton trails. In April of 2019, a woman was struck with an object and sexually assaulted on another Hamilton trail, Bruce Trail.
Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest trail, running 900 km from Niagara to Tobermory, passing Hamilton in-between.
The victim was assaulted while walking from the Dundurn stairs down the Bruce Trail when she stopped after hearing someone call out to her.
The HPS did not release any further updates to this investigation nor was an arrest announced.
Also on Bruce Trail, an arrest was made in 2017 after an individual walking alone was approached by a man with a knife and forced into a quiet area.
The suspect was arrested in this case and HPS charged 28-year-old Shane Stevens with sexual assault with a weapon and two times of breach of probation.
With the Cootes Paradise area in close proximity to McMaster University, hiking on trails has been a popular outdoor activity for many students. However, the danger associated with walking alone on Hamilton trails has not been foreign to students.
A number of recreational trails are also available within the McMaster Forest. McMaster has noted that such trails, however, are mainly unmaintained.
Random assaults, such as the ones mentioned above, are unfortunate occurrences that most do not expect when visiting trails. It is important that students remain vigilant as they visit trails and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe.