Industrial & Canal History
Heritage is a big part of what makes our community unique
Welland Canal Memorial
The Welland Canal Memorial monument was built to commemorate the hard working people from Canada and around the world who came to the Niagara Peninsula to build the waterway known as the Welland Canal. It reminds us of the importance of multiculturalism to Welland’s development in the past, present and future. Industries, business professionals, and citizens have prospered here in Welland and Niagara because of the efforts of the people who built the canal. Some lost their lives digging with picks and shovels, while many left their families in their homelands to come to Canada in search of work.
Canal Terrace is a highlight in downtown Welland. Complete with water features, gardens, benches, and interpretive historical panels with information on the canal and local industry. Canal Terrace inspires visitors learn more about the city’s shipping industry.
Welland Canal Second Aqueduct
Get better acquainted with canal history behind Welland Civic Square at 60 East Main Street. The aqueduct was originally built between 1831 and 1833 as a wooden aqueduct which was the inspiration behind the village name. In the 1840’s a stone aqueduct replaced the wooden structure. The purpose of the aqueduct is to allow the waters of the second Welland Canal to pass over the Chippawa Creek (Welland River). Adjacent to the Aqueduct is Merritt Island, named for canal founder William Hamilton Merritt. Merritt Island is a well-known open green space for locals and visitors to picnic and play.
Welland Historical Museum
The Museum is located in the heart of the city, and across from beautiful Merritt Park. The museum offers a fun affordable family experience for visitors. Come explore Welland’s industrial age with the Canal and Industry Galleries. These galleries showcase and examine the importance of building the canals and the contribution the canals made to progressing the city and seeding our city’s industrial roots. The exhibit includes many photographs and artefacts from the major factories, companies and businesses that grew Welland. www.wellandmuseum.ca.
Welland Central Fire Hall
The Central Fire Hall was completed in 1920. The city was growing due to the industrial revolution and was in need of a modern fire station to serve its growing population. The building is an early twentieth century Edwardian Classical style, designed by Walter W. LaChance, while still incorporating the prominent features of the “old time” red brick fire stations of the late 1800’s. The most unusual elements of its design are its basilica plan, a rectangle with hexagonal ‘apse’ at either end, and sitting at a 45-degree angle across the property. The building features a high brick drying tower fitted with a four-faceted clock and a Greek acroterion, resembling old-fashioned fire helmets, above each of the four dormers.
Feeder Canal Junction Lock 1845
Learn more about the Feed Canal Junction at its original site at the corner of Prince Charles Drive and Ontario Road. The original canal is mostly buried; however, fact plaques are onsite to teach you the history and value that the Feeder Canal brought to the city.
Catharine Street 1913
Catharine Street stretched from West Main Street to Bald Street and is the only remaining exposed Brick Street in Welland. In April 1912, the town initiated a brick paving program on its main streets. In 1913, Town Council decided to extend brick paving south along Catharine Street from West Main Street to connect to the trolley station on the west side of what is now Prince Charles Drive. The cost was $2,613 to tax payers.
The paving of Catharine Street was part of the town’s plan to establish an integrated transportation system to link all three railway depots. Welland was becoming an industrial city; thus, Town Council wanted to support growth and create a seamless transportation system. Although subsequently covered with asphalt, due to wear and tear, most of the brick is now exposed and retains all of its original material and design. Take a stroll down this history lane where people have walked for more than a hundred years to work, shop, and socialize.