While the lower section of Snake Road is no longer open to traffic, the upper section is still in use. During the 1980s, the City of Burlington announced plans to “reconstruct Snake Road,” by straightening some of its curves to assist drivers who complained about its numerous bends. Fortunately, the city never followed through – largely as a result of a vocal protest by several Waterdown residents.
Some improvements to the drainage and run-off problems that occurred after heavy rainfalls were implemented, but little else was changed; the road remains one of the most scenic in the area.
During the first half of the 20th century, much of the land in the middle section of the road was bordered by farms and market gardens, but few of them remain. Near the intersection at York Road, the land is now owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton and is the site for the Gates of Heaven Cemetery. Across the road, the former stage-coach stopping point, the Grapevine Inn or Halfway House, is now a private home.
As Snake Road approaches Waterdown, the Motherhouse of the School Sisters of Notre Dame is visible through the trees. Today the building serves as the retirement home for the Sisters, but for many years it operated as a private day and boarding school.
At the southern end of the village, where the road crosses the unique humpbacked wooden bridge over the railway line, large concrete grain silos stood against the fence until 1983. A landmark from the Second World War, they were built on land Francis Griffin rented from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Between 1940 and 1945, they were an important component of his feed mill business, when Canadian Packers sponsored the Association of Feed Grain Dealers to solve the problems caused by a short supply of feed grains in Southern Ontario. After the war ended, the silos briefly served as a cold storage site for Roy Game Feeds, but by the mid-1950s they were no longer in use. With graffiti painted on them and a hazard to the intrepid teenagers who attempted to climb them, they were demolished to prevent possible injury.
Sylvia Wray is the former archivist with the Flamborough Archives. She can be reached through the Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 13 April 2007.