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Thorold's old fire station: a popular landmark beside the Second Welland Canal.

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Thorold is a small city just south of St. Catharines that developed on the banks of the First and Second Welland Canals. Thorold made a decision early on to clean up the canal but strangely the route was never fully built on or developed. In recent years more of an effort has been made to maintain the route and it's heritage. If you're interested you can take a walk through town and see some of the landmarks left over from the canal.

History

Like many other canal towns, Thorold started on the banks of the First Welland Canal built in 1825-29, just south of where the canal made it's steep climb up the Niagara Escarpment.

In the following decades, Thorold's development and eventual prosperity was largely based on the industry associated with the canals. When shipping started on the Third Welland Canal in 1881, the second canal remained open allowing Thorold's mills and harbor to continue operating well into the 1900's.

While shipping diminished after this point, the canal continued to run through the center of town for years to come. It was in 1935 that a request was made to the Canadian Government to clean up the canal. As a result, A culvert was built in 1959 from Beaverdams road in the south to Townline Rd at thorold's northern end.1

The following map shows where the Second Welland Canal ran through town before it was cleaned up. I've also identified the current layout of roads in the area as well as several historical landmarks associated with the canals. I've included more details about these landmarks in the walking tour.

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References

1. Page 64 of Thorold, Its Past and Present1968, includes a great article written by Cecil Grose about Thorold decision to clean up the canal.

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