compiled by Justin Dwyer
1906 – The Winnipeg Section of the Alpine Club of Canada explores rock climbing in north western Ontario.
Early 1900s – The first President of the Alpine Club of Canada, A.O. Wheeler travels through Eastern Canada promoting the new club. He visits Winnipeg, Toronto, Woodstock, Ottawa and Collingwood (which was where he first lived in Canada)
April 1910 – the Toronto Committee section of the Alpine Club of Canada is formed – it is the 4th section. This group did much exploration of the cliffs in Ontario.
Summer 1922 – Toronto Committee outings to the Niagara Glen and Rockwood are recorded.
May 29, 1926 – Toronto Committee members visit The Devil’s Pulpit to do some rock climbing
Late 1920s – Reverend George Passmore attempts to scale Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo.
1929 – Aleister Crowley visited Devil Rock in Temiskaming in search of native pictographs, and being an alpinist he attempts to climb the cliff.
1933 – by this time the Toronto Committee has stopped publishing their activities in the ACC Gazette, and the section has mostly dissolved.
1940s – Roger Neave explores the Niagara Escarpment for rock climbing potential. And climbs as far north as Lion’s Head.
1945 – 1955 – After the war, many European alpinists settled in Canada and brought their high technical standards to the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment. Climber’s like Alf Muelhbauer and Boris Dopta climbed many of the routes at Mt. Nemo and Kelso that climber’s still enjoy today. Many of their original soft iron pitons can still be found.
1949 – The Ottawa Section of the Alpine Club of Canada is formed
Early 1950s – Francis Chisolm explores the Gatineau Park area for technical rock climbing.
September 1, 1956 – first ascent of Birthday Ridge, Bon Echo’s first recorded route. The next day they did Front of the Pinnacle a climb considered harder by 3 grades of difficulty.
March 14, 1957 – What we know today as the Toronto Section of the Alpine Club of Canada is created, and formally accepted into the organization by September of the same year.
1958 – Rock routes on Bancroft’s Eagle’s Nest cliff were successfully completed.
1959 – The Denison family turns over their land to the Ontario government, and Bon Echo Provincial Park is created. 4 routes have been completed on the cliff up to this time
1960/61 – Two of the most spectacular routes on the cliff are completed by the legendary John Turner, their difficulty was on par with the most difficult routes elsewhere in North America at the time.
December 10, 1962 – the ACC Toronto Section Hut land was purchased, and in 1963 a cabin was erected
1968 – Due to increased popularity of the area the ACC Bon Echo Hut had an addition put on
Early seventies – Uwe Embacher and his climbing club from Ecole Secondaire Franco-Cite explore rock around Killarney Provincial Park’s George Lake only a few years after the park is established in 1964.
1971 – Gerard Clement finds and firmly establishes bouldering at Sunset Rock in Milton in the style of the French Fontainebleau bouldering area
February 10th, 1974 – Roger Parsons completes the first recorded ice climbs on Bancroft’s Eagle’s Nest cliff
Mid seventies – Jean-Marc Filion, accompanied by students of Les Chevres de Montagne (Ecole Secondaire Algonquin) continue to explore rock climbing potential around George Lake in Killarney.
1977 – George Cameron climbs Return of Degnoid at Punk Rock (Crawford Lake) and it is one of Canada’s hardest rock climbs at the time. (2nd 5.12 in Canada after Sentry Box in Squamish)
1980 – The Toronto Section of the Alpine Club of Canada releases their guidebook to rock and ice climbing in Southern Ontario. The guide lists routes at the popular Bon Echo, Rattlesnake Point, Buffalo crag, Mt. Nemo, Kelso, Kingston Mills, and Dundas Valley ice climbing. It also describes climbers journeys exploring and climbing at Mono Rocks, the Kolapore, the Muskokas and the Haliburton area
1982 – Killarney rock climbing guide published, nearly 100 routes are described.
1983 – Ontario’s first sport route – a climb protected by bolts – is created. The first sport climbing area in North America, Smith Rocks, has its first climbs of this style developed in the same year.
1983 – David Smart’s first guide to the Niagara Escarpment is published. 100s of routes are described
1985 – David Smart’s second edition guide to the Niagara Escarpment is published. Number of routes described has more than doubled.
1987 – Visiting Canadian superclimber Peter Croft said of the Escarpment, “you’ve got crags worthy of getting sweaty, frightened, and excited about.”
1988 – David Smart’s last edition of his Niagara Escarpment guide is published. The number of routes is well over 500
1990 – Canada’s first rock climbing gym, Joe Rockheads, is built in Toronto it is the 2nd or 3rd in North America.
1990 – Steven W. Adcocks’ guide to Bon Echo is released. It has been updated several times, the last edition being published in 2003.
1991 – The Escarpment is published which is the last nearly comprehensive guide to the area, features 750 routes.
1995 – Southern Ontario Ice guidebook is released
1997 – The Sport Climber’s guide to the Escarpment is published describing a couple hundred more climbs than the previous guide. The total number of climbs on the Escarpment is over 1000.
1997 – Ontario’s first, and Canada’s 3rd 5.14 is established. The grade would be solidified over the next few years in the province.
2009 – The Ontario Access Coalition (OAC) is established and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.
2011 – Digital guides for the Escarpment cliffs and ice climbing are developed and released for mobile devices.
2012 – Climbing continues to grow as a popular sport. 3000 climbs are estimated on the Niagara Escarpment.
2018 – The Ontario Access Coalition is renamed The Ontario Alliance of Climbers.