Welland Canal Parklands Walking Tour - Reservoir to Hwy 58.

Duration: 60 minutes Difficulty: Moderate, reasonable trails, some exploring will be more difficult

This remote section of Welland Canal Parklands sees the Third Welland canal overlaping the present infrastructure. To avoid any confusion I've outlined part of the route of the third canal on the map.

1.
Thorold Tunnel: If you look at the map you may notice the strange shape of the waterways here. There's a good explanation. The first year they built the Thorold Tunnel (Hwy 58), they needed to reroute the Third Welland Canal so they dug the semi circle. The next year they dug a trench for the entire Thorold Tunnel.

This area is also significant for being part of the Battle of Beaverdams. Apparently, when they were digging they came across several buried soldiers which needed to be moved to another location.

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2.
Third Welland Canal: Here's a look down the channel of the Third Welland Canal toward the Thorold Tunnel. Ontario Paper (Currently called Abitibi-Consolidated) can be seen in the background.
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3.
Niagara Central Railway: From the 1880's to the 1930's local trains became a popular way to travel in the Niagara Region. This bridge is what's left of the line between Thorold and Niagara Falls. The line operated until the late 1940's.

Interestingly, the company that ran the trains, Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway started switching to buses in the 1930's and 40's and eventually evolved into the St. Catharines and Niagara Falls transit systems.

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4.
Swing Bridge: The bridge used by the train is by far the biggest swing bridge I've seen on the canals. In the picture you can see the center support for the bridge with another support further in the background.
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5.
Gatehouse: The waterway leading up to the gatehouse has recently been fenced off and marked with no trespassing signs. I'd recommend respecting the signs. You can still see the water exiting the gatehouse. The water seen here is overflow from lock 7 nearby.
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6.
Lock 22: Here's a picture of water running from the gatehouse into Lock 22. Despite the concrete architecture, it's hard not to appreciate a waterfall.
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7.
Lock 22: Sometimes, I accidently take photo's that look more artistic than factual. Here you can see water falling into Lock 22 as seen from Lock 21.
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8.
Lock 21: Here's a shot of Lock 21 that people often take from Lock 22. Part of the lock is above water but as you can see the left side has become an Island.
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9.
Lock 21: Here's a close up of lock 21 when the reservoir is filled with water. After 130 years the lock is in pretty good condition, you might conclude that the pressure from water in the reservoir helps keep the lock together somehow.

There is a small path leading to lock 21 on the east side. What you might find interesting is that the path takes you right over the original location of St. Peter's church that was torn down in the 1880 to make room for the Third Welland Canal.

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10.
St. Peter's Cemetery: Here's a shot of St. Peter's Cemetery Today. The picture was taken from the south edge looking north over the length of the cemetery.

The cemetery made the news in 2009 when a local resident reported finding human bones in the area. Something that probably led to the fresh layer of dirt over the section closest to the water.

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