Back when I was starting to work on my 1867 project a friend and fellow reenactor pointed me towards a facebook group called Friends of the Welland Canal. The facebook group is a joint effort between local residents and a group known as the Welland Canal Advocate (WCA). Over the Victoria Day long weekend, Heather and I took the opportunity to attend one of the monthly WCA hikes that took us through a section of the first and second canals that run through St. Catherine’s Centennial Gardens. That said when the canals were in operation, the area was actually in a separate community known as Merritton. The weather was perfect, sunny, warm, and a few clouds in the sky. I had visited the park during a trip last year to collect photos for 1867 but I had no idea what I had missed. Rene, the man behind the WCA and these hikes, guided us around the surviving section of the canal that runs through the middle of the park and spoke on the history of the canal and the park itself. The two highlights for me was seeing the remains of an original lock from the first canal (Lock 6) and Lock 5 from the Second Canal which now acts as pilings for a modern road that runs over the old canal. A local councillor spoke on those living rough in the parks of St. Catherine and how we can reach out to local groups to assist. But enough talking, let’s get to the photos I took!
While I’m going to miss the next couple of hikes, I certainly hope to return in September, and might even try and convince some folks from the Toronto Film Shooters to join in the fun. And I certainly plan on doing a photographic trip back to the canals and exploring more of the remains now that I have a better resource and maybe putting together a ‘zine on the subject. Yeah, my brain is already tossing around these ideas. You can check out the entire set of photos I took on the hike over on Flickr. Additionally, check out the Friends of the Welland Canal group and the WCA website for future details on upcoming hikes!