Links and Resources

If you're looking for more information about the Welland Canals there are plenty of books, websites, groups, maps, and photos available. The following list of resources should get you started.


This Great National Object: Building The Nineteenth-Century Welland Canals (2012) by Roberta M. Styran and Robert R. Taylor - This is one of two books we'd recommend if you're looking for a comprehensive history of the Welland Canals. This book places an emphasis on the engineering accomplishments of the people who built and operated the Welland Canals.


The Welland Canals and Their Communities: Engineering, Industrial and Urban Transformation (1997) by John N. Jackson - This is the second of two history books we're recommending. This book places a greater emphasis on the effects of the Welland Canals on local urban development.


Survey of Lands appropriate to the use of the Welland Canal Company (1826-1837) - Before the First Welland Canal was built, William Hamilton Merritt went to every property owner along its route, surveyed their land and drew a map showing how much of their land was needed for the canal. These surveys still exist and are held by the Special Collections department of Brock University. No need to go there, they can be downloaded as six pdf files from Brock University's website. Make sure to click on the option, “View more items” on the web page to see all six files.


Welland Canal from Actual Survey (1837) – Also called the “Baird and Killaly Map”, this is a map of the First Welland Canal made ten years after the canal was built. The value of this map is priceless because it's the only map showing the actual route and design of the First Welland Canal. It’s also amazingly accurate when tested against newer maps and satellite images. Copies can download from the Brock Map Library on the "Welland Canal From Actual Survey" webpage. Just a warning, the map is enormous and you'll need to download eleven huge tiff files to get the whole map.


Second Welland Canal Books 1, 2, and 3 (1826-1860s) – Books 1, 2 and 3 are the original plans for building the Second Welland Canal. They are very complete and often including information about the roads and buildings populating the banks of the canal. Similar to the “Survey of Lands” book mentioned above, these books are being held by the Special Collections Department at in the Brock University library. They can be downloaded as Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.


The Welland Ship Canal Between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie 1913 -1932 (1935) by Major Percy J Cowan – One reason this book made it on the list is because it has an almost cult like following among Welland Canal aficionados. The book is a compilation of three years of engineering articles about the Forth Welland Canal including a comprehensive history of the canals and details about what happened to the Third Welland Canal when the Fourth canal was built in 1913-1932.


The Welland Canals: Historical Resource Analysis and Preservation Alternatives (1976) by Greenwald, Michelle – Arguably the best resource on the list. In the mid 1970’s the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation decided to look at the canals and index every remaining remnant from the older Welland Canals. This book is difficult to find but there is a copy at the St. Catharines Museum and in the Special Collections section at the downtown St. Catharines Library.


A Survey of Historical Structures: The Welland Canal Industrial Corridor (1990) by Welland Canals Society Archaeology Project – This book is amazing if you’re interested in the industrial corridor that sprung up beside the First and Second Welland Canals in St. Catharines, Merriton and Thorold. If you see any old building or structure along the canals in these areas, chances are this book can tell you exactly what it is and why it's there. This book is difficult to find but there is a copy at the St. Catharines Museum and in the Special Collections at the downtown St. Catharines Library.


Historic Welland Canals Mapping Project (HWCMP) – This is the most recent resource to make the list. Designed by Colleen Baird the map librarian at Brock University in 2017, the HWCMP is an interactive website that uses modern day mapping technology to show the routes of the historic Welland Canals. We highly recommend using the website.


Historic Welland Canals (2010) by Roger Bradshaw – This book made the list because it’s unique and special. Roger Bradshaw has been taking professional level photos of old Welland Canal remnants for years and decided to publish them in what is essentially a coffee table book. The photos are amazing. If you don’t have a coffee table we’re recommending getting one so that you can put this book on it.

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