Welland Canal


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It may not be as popular as Niagara Falls, but the Welland Canal is the world's largest water staircase and an integral part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The canal is comprised of a series of locks that allow shipping freightors to ascend the one hundred meter high Niagara Escarpment and bypass the impossible-to-ascend falls. Over 40,000,000 tons of goods are shipped along the canal annually via 3,000 freightors.

The canal was first constructed in 1824 and began in the historic town of Port Dalhousie. From there it ran along Twelve Mile Creek, through St. Catharines, Thorold, and beyond to Lake Erie. This canal no longer functions, though many elements are still visible to tourists who visit the area. In Port Dalhousie you will find remnants of old gates, pulley systems, and the canal itself.

There have been two other versions of the canal before the one being used today. This fourth canal began construction in 1913 and ended in 1932 (with ongoing amendments). It enters on the northeastern part of St. Catharines and follows a more direct path up the escarpment with seven locks and one guard lock, where it ends in Port Colbourne. 

Most of these locks are accessible to the public, and St. Catharines' Museum at Lock 3 offers a viewing platform, ship schedule, as well as an extensive parkway for biking or walking along the canal. The museum also houses a history of the canal's construction, and some hands-on interaction for kids. 


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