If you mention the Welland Canal today many people will think of the massive shipping channel cutting across the Niagara Penisula, an artificial river you see from the Garden City Skyway that carries the QEW over the top the channel. Part of an elaborate and technologically advanced highway and major trade corridor from the Atlantic Ocean to the northernmost Great Lakes. The Canal has humble beginnings. Since the earliest days of human settlement in the Niagara Regions, the major transit between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie has been the Niagara River. Even the first peoples realised they required a long portage as the great falls,Read More →

While the idea of cutting a channel to safely carry cargo and people across the Niagara Penisula was not a new one by the time William Hamilton Merritt came along and pushed the idea forward to completion, Merritt is the one credited with the concept. William’s father, Thomas Merritt served under Sir John Graves Simcoe in the Queen’s Rangers during the American Revolution. After the war ended Thomas and his wife Catharine Hamilton settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick for some time. But the call of home beckoned and the two returned to Bedford, New York. In Bedford, on the 3rd of July 1795 thatRead More →

Like Ontario, Simcoe & Huron, unless you’re a hardcore railroad history fan, you may have never heard of the Great Western Railroad. If you commute between Hamilton and Toronto on the GO Train, you’ve ridden on the part of the original line for Great Western. Their stations are still in use around the province, and yet the name is long lost to history. Great Western Railroad got its start in 1834 as the London & Gore Railway to build a railway between the city of London and the city of Hamilton. Even in 1834, Sir Allan Napier MacNab invested heavily in the company. But theRead More →

If there is a singular piece of infrastructure that changed the course of an entire region of Ontario that piece is the Welland Canal. Today the massive ship channel that serves as an extension of the St. Lawerence Seaway has humble beginnings. Before the construction of any canal, the only way to move supplies between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie was using the Niagara River. The river proved to be a difficult route for the British. The first being proximity to the American guns at Fort Niagara the second being the wonder of Niagara Falls. It resulted in long portages often starting at Queenston. TheRead More →