I visited once again Niagara area of Canada with my host Mr. Rajan and Mrs. Sajiji. Few pictures and videos
This is the Welland Canal where when ships have to pass through, the bridge will go up and will be later lowered for the vehicles to pass through. There are 7 locks in the Canal and we were at the third.
Watching the Ships Pass Through the Welland Canal
The Welland Canal, a major shipping route in North America, in nearby southern Ontario, is a unique engineering marvel. People travel from all over the world to see the canal in operation.
There are several viewing platforms along the 26 mile route, as well as recreational trails, museums, stores and restaurants. A scenic driving route takes you along the canal through four cities from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie.
If you study a map of the United States and Canada, you can see that ships from the Atlantic Ocean can travel inland through the St. Lawrence Seaway into Lake Ontario. However, at the turn of the 19th century, the furthest inland they could proceed was the lower Niagara River; as Niagara Falls presented a barrier to the remaining four Great Lakes.
The Welland Canal Company, founded by William Hamilton Merritt, began the construction of the first Welland Canal between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie in 1824. It took five years to dig it by hand, connecting a series of creeks and rivers. It had 39 small locks with wooden gates. Once it opened in 1829, ships were able to sail the rest of the Great Lakes region.
Of course, over time, ships got bigger and the canal had to be enlarged to accommodate them. It was rebuilt three times, in 1845, 1887, and in 1932. The last major construction project on the canal was about 30 years ago; when a new channel was dug to bypass the downtown section of the city of Welland.
Today the canal has seven lift locks, each measuring 859 feet long, 80 feet wide and 80 feet high. The eighth lock, a regulating lock located in Port Colborne, is 1,380 feet long, one of the longest locks in the world. It takes about 21 million gallons of water to fill a lock in about 10 minutes. A ship’s travel time through the canal, from lake to lake is about 8-10 hours, with approximately 30 minutes to enter, be raised or lowered and exit a lock. The canal is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from April to December.
Two types of ships can be seen traveling the waters of the canal: “lakers,” which sail the Great Lakes region and “salties,” ocean going vessels that hails from all over the world. While the majority of ships that use the canal are cargo ships; cruise ships, barges and pleasure crafts are permitted.
The city of Thorold is referred to as “the place where ships climb the mountain,” as it is here that ships pass through a set of three twinned locks, allowing them to climb the Niagara Escarpment, the same ridge of rock that Niagara Falls flows over.
Legend has it that sailor, Charles Snelgrove started the tradition of saying goodbye to ladies he met in port by bringing them to the rock in Thorold and kissing them good bye. Soon, other sailors followed the tradition with their wives and girlfriends; considering it bad luck to leave Lock 7 without visiting the Kissing Rock.
The city of Welland is located right on the canal; as a matter of fact, until 1973, when a by-pass channel was built, ships sailed right through downtown Welland. The old section of the canal is now used as a recreational waterway.
Welland is probably best known for the almost 30 murals that are located throughout the downtown area, mainly in the vicinity of East Main Street, which depict scenes from Welland’s history.
Welland, officially known as the “Rose City” celebrates its annual Rose Festival June 1-11, 2006 in Chippewa Park, which has one of the finest rose gardens in Ontario. One variety in the garden is the “City of Welland Rose,” a yellow blend hybrid tea rose.
The Welland Canal Lock 8 at Port Colborne is a regulating lock, which raises or lowers ships only a few feet, depending on the water level of Lake Erie. The park surrounding the lock has an elevated viewing platform.
Courtesy: Christine A. Smyczynski in The Buffalo News February 26, 2006