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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Catharines in Niagara Region, Ontario — Central Canada
 

Early Welland Canals

 
 
Early Welland Canals Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 27, 2014
1. Early Welland Canals Marker
Inscription. The modern Welland Canal is actually the fourth version to be built since 1829. Unlike the later government-operated canals, the First Welland Canal was built by a private company.

The outline on the ground represents a typical lock from the First Canal. Compare the outline to Lock 3. How have the locks changed?

[Caption for drawing:] Typical locks, balance beam gates, and barge traffic on the Erie Canal.

Dressed stone was used to build the Second Canal (1845) and Third Canal (1881). The gates of the early canals were manually opened and closed. Large balance beams, or levers, projected out from the top of the gate to help 'balance' the mass of the gate leaf and facilitate its movement by locktenders and ship crew.

Early canals were too narrow to navigate a sailing ship. Teams of horses, mules or oxen - driven by a towboy - would move along a towpath beside the channel, towing vessels with their sails furled. The Third and Fourth Canals were built for steam and diesel ships capable of transiting the Canal under their own power.

First Welland Canal
Started 1824 - Completed 1829

[Under ship diagram:]
Typical Vessel
Length 100Ft - Cargo Capacity 165 Tons

[Under lock diagram:]
Typical Lock

Length
Early Welland Canals Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 27, 2014
2. Early Welland Canals Marker
Wide southward view. Marker is in front of the stone at left.
of Gates - (33.5 m) - 110 FT
Width of Lock - (6.7 m) - 22 FT
Depth of Water over Sills - (2.4 m) - 8 FT
Single Lifts - (1.5 m - 3.4 m) - 4 FT TO 11 FT
Number of Locks - 40

Second Welland Canal
Started 1840 Completed 1845

[Under ship diagram:]
Typical Vessel
Length 140Ft - Cargo Capacity 700 Tons

[Under lock diagram:]
Typical Lock

Length of Gates - (45.7 m) - 150 FT
Width of Lock - (8.0 m) - 26 FT 6 IN
Depth of Water over Sills - (2.7 m) - 9 FT
Single Lifts - (2.9 m - 4.3 m) - 9 FT 6 IN TO 14 FT 3 IN
Number of Locks - 27

Third Welland Canal
Started 1875 Completed 1887

[Under ship diagram:]
Typical Vessel
Length 255Ft - Cargo Capacity 3700 Tons

[Under lock diagram:]
Typical Lock

Length of Gates - (82.3 m) - 270 FT
Width of Lock - (13.7 m) - 45 FT
Depth of Water over Sills - (4.3 m) - 14 FT
Single Lifts - (3.7 m - 4.9 m) - 12 FT TO 14 FT 3 IN
Number of Locks - 26

Welland Ship Canal
Started 1913 - Completed 1932-33

Length between Inner Gates - (261.8 m) - 850 FT
Width of Lock - (24.4 m) - 60 FT
Depth of Water over Sills - (9.1 m) - 30 FT
Single Lifts - (14.2 m) -
Early Welland Canals Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 27, 2014
3. Early Welland Canals Marker
46 FT 6 IN
Number of Locks including 3 Twin - 8
Total Lockage - (99.5 m) - 326 FT 6 IN

H5 Humberstone is 1380 FT long between inner gates

[Under lock diagram:]
Typical Lock

[Under ship diagram:]
Typical Vessel
Maximum Length 225.5m (740 FT) & Cargo Capacity 25000 Tons at 8m (26.3 FT)

Adjacent to the lock outline, the stone blocks define the increased width of the Second Welland Canal. The subsequently enlarged width of the Third Welland Canal (1887)
is approximately 1 m (39 in.) from the fence. Similarly, the length of the locks for the Second and Third Canals are shown to the north by stone blocks measured from the upper gates of the First Canal outline.

Remants of the stone locks from the Second and Third Welland Canals can be found throughout St. Catharines and neighboring communities. A ten-minute drive from Lock 3 will take you to the location of an excavated lock from the First Canal - Lock 24 off Merritt Street. Sections of the Second Canal can be found in Mountain Locks Park on Glendale Avenue.

Caution! climbing on the artifacts can be hazardous

Learn about the earlier Canals on your visit to the St. Catharines Museum, before you set out to explore the Canal remnants.
 
Erected by St. Catharines Museum.
 
Location.
Early Welland Canals Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 27, 2014
4. Early Welland Canals Marker
Rear view
43° 9.332′ N, 79° 11.641′ W. Marker is in St. Catharines, Ontario, in Niagara Region. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. Marker is between the museum building and the canal. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario L2R7K6, Canada.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. International Shipmasters' Association (a few steps from this marker); Welland Ship Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); Shipbuilding in Niagara (within shouting distance of this marker); Spring Tooth Cultivator (within shouting distance of this marker); Bollards & Fairleads (within shouting distance of this marker); Horse Drawn Grape Hoe (within shouting distance of this marker); William Hamilton Merritt 1793 - 1862 (within shouting distance of this marker); Vertical Lift Bridges (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Catharines.
 
Also see . . .
1. St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canal Centre. (Submitted on August 9, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. Welland Canal - Wikipedia. (Submitted on August 9, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Early Welland Canal Stone by the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, July 27, 2014
5. Early Welland Canal Stone by the Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 9, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 232 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 9, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • William J. Toman was the editor who published this page.
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