Sunday, May 10, 2015

Welland, Ontario: Welland Recreational Waterway

Let's see. We're in Welland, Ontario, some miles southwest of Niagara Falls. We're right in the middle of town, and there's a fine waterway running north-south right through the middle of town. In order to get to the other side, one must take a bridge like this one on Main St.

It would be easy to guess that you were at the Welland Canal, important part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. (Otherwise, ships would be going over Niagara Falls to get to Lake Ontario, and that's not a good idea. It's an even worse idea in reverse.)

Alas, you'd be wrong. This is the old Welland Canal, which closed in the early 1970s. The new canal section is a couple of miles east of here, and it seems to be mostly surrounded by fences. That means it is difficult for tourists to see it. You can drive under it, which is briefly interesting.

This raises a question. If you can't visit the canal while here, why is it called the Welland Canal? My guess is that a number of canals have been built in this region, and Welland has always gotten the credit. Someone did a fine job of marketing here. This list of famous canals in this part of the world is pretty small - the Erie Canal in New York has history going for it - so it would be worth a look if you could see it here. But you have to go elsewhere.

By the way, another part of the old canal has been turned into a spectacular water park, which has held international competitions in such sports as crew and open swimming.

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