The small town of Port Robinson retains an unusual artifact from the Second Welland Canal. Built in 1850, a stone lock once used to transport ships between the Welland Canal and the Welland River sits resolutely in a big open field. With no water in sight the lock has become a local landmark and perhaps a bit of a mystery to some.
The lock has a long history. When the First Welland Canal was built in 1824 to 1829 a series of two wooden locks was used to connect the Welland Canal to the Welland River. At the time, the link was the only route ships could take on their route from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. In 1833 the Welland River was bypassed, and main ship traffic was diverted to a route which travelled directly south to Lake Erie.
With the building of the Second Welland Canal (1842-1845), the value of the canal as a localtransportation system was recognized. Despite the fact that the Welland River was no longer being used as the main route for the Welland Canal, the channel was kept open. The two wooden locks were replaced with one stone lock in 1850 and the connection remained navigable until the 1900's.
Today the channel linking the two waterways has been filled in. The Welland River flows approximately 400 meters east of the lock, while the Welland Canal, now in its fourth iteration, continues 150 meters to the west.
From the QEW
Exit the QEW on McLeod Rd in Niagara Falls. Follow Mcleod Rd west until it ends at Thorold Townline Rd. Turn left (south) and follow Townline until it ends at Chippawa Creek Rd. Turn right and follow this road as it turns into Canby and then finally River Rd.
Text and photographs on this page were graciously contributed by Matthew Jantz.
2 River St.
L0S 1K0 Municipality Thorold