The fascination of ships!! There is something about water that draws people to it. The Welland Canal offers a chance to see all kinds of ships and boats as close as close can be!! But, is that all it is??
An engineering marvel, the Welland Canal has been part of the Niagara Region landscape for almost two hundred years. Since construction first started in 1924 to connect Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, there have been a total four Welland Canals. It was all needed in order to create a water route that could go around the Niagara River, the rapids and a little thing called Niagara Falls!!
The present canal, that connects Port Colborne to St. Catharines was completed in 1932. An additional route was built by 1973, including tunnels, to bypass the city of Welland and allow for fewer interruptions of motor vehicle traffic.
Welland Canal Map © euromapping.com 2006
Whether you are a tourist, a history buff or a local, the Welland Canal is a treasure chest full of things to do. Throughout the year, there are events planned or you can just wander wherever it takes you. A few hints include a visit to the Lock 3 Museum, experience Canal Days weekend, bike trails, boating and the new Welland Canal Fallen workers memorial.
Like many other things about the canal , when you get to one site, there are so many other options to choose to experience the canal. One example is Lock 3 in St. Catharines. There you have to opportunity to go to the viewing platform to watch the ships navigate the lock. At the lock is the St. Catharines Museum which also includes the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame , a video display and a restaurant for a relaxing view of the ships. Bring your bikes and a picnic lunch!!!. Ride along as you travel between the canal between bridges and locks. It is a great day for the whole family. You may even get to see a tall ship on the way for Canal Days!!
Lock 3 © Patrick Lapinski
At the entrance to the canal from Lake Erie is the city of Port Colborne. Every August, celebrating the importance of the canal to the city and region, Canal Days is a 4 day festival with attractions for everyone. Music, food, crafts fireworks and of course tall ships are just a few of the things you can enjoy during the weekend!!
Canal Days © cliftonhill.com
When the canal was rerouted to the east of the city of Welland, during the late 60’s and early 70’s, the old canal became a focal point for recreation. Along the canal are relaxing parks, Merritt Island, and the Welland Canal Trail. The canal is also home the International Flatwater Centre which hosts rowing, kayaking, Dragon Boat and triathlon races.
Welland Canal Parks © southcoasttourism.com
If you are coming to the region, plan to explore the Welland Canal and all that is has to offer. You will not be disappointed!!
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