Links and Resources
If you're looking for more information about the Welland Canals there are plenty of websites, books, reports, maps, and photos available. The following list of resources should get you started.
The Welland Canal: For several years Dr. Gord hosted a community forum for people interested in the Welland Canals. He's now on Facebook with a larger group and lots of chatter. It's mostly focused on the current canal and the southern towns of Port Colborne and Welland. If you want to track ships or discuss the Welland Canal this group's always open to new members.
Friends of the Welland Canals: Originally started by Rene Ressler, a local activist working for the preservation of the Welland Canals, this is a great group to contact if you've got a questions about the canals or just interested in local history. Most of the membership appears to be from the St. Catharines and Thorold areas.
Peter Marshall's Google Map: Peter Marshall contacted me with news that he was creating this giant google map with information about the old Welland Canals. Its well done and the unique interface makes researching the canal much more interactive.
Welland Canal Exhibit: Brock University recently started a project to make their Welland Canal maps and a lot of photos available to people using Google Earth. You need to download and install (and then learn to use) Google Earth but its a lot of fun and useful once you get the hang of it.
Libraries and Archives
Brock Map Library: The Brock Map Library maintains a large collection of historical maps of the Niagara Region, many of which show the route and details of the canals. They also keep a collection of aerial photos dating back to 1921. The Library has been putting material online, but if your serious about researching you should visit in person to see what resources they have. Here's a few shortcuts to their online material.
Brock University Special Collections and Archives: Brock University's Special Collections & Archives department has been focused on collecting the history of the Niagara Peninsula for over 45 years. The materials on the Welland Canal are made up of primary and secondary sources from the 1820's to the present. The collection includes original survey maps from the First and Second Welland Canals. Sorting through them can be overwhelming. The department has provided a search tool for the Second Welland Canal.
St. Catharines Museum: Library and Archives: St. Catharines Museum has it's own Library and archives located in the basement. It's open to researchers Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:30pm-4:30pm
St. Catharines Public Library: There are about 15 books about the Welland Canal on the shelves, but much more impressive is the Special Collections Department on the second floor, where they maintain a collection of newspaper clippings, bound essays, and reports about the Welland Canals.
Welland Public Library: The Welland Public Library has an organized collection of photos and news clippings online.
Niagara Falls Public Library: The Niagara Falls Library has a large photo collection online. A search under the subject Welland Ship Canal yields over 500 results.
Historical Society of St. Catharines: The Historical Society of St. Catharines meets 8 times a year with a mission to increase people knowledge and appreciation for local history. Attending one of their meetings is a great way to meet local historians interested in the Welland Canal.
The Canadian Canal Society: The Canadian Canal Society is a not-for-profit, educational, scientific and historical organization, dedicated to the preservation of the canal heritage of Canada. It is committed to promoting the collection and publication of the history of Canadian canals and to encouraging the preservation of tradition and oral history relating to them and their operation.
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