The Second Welland Canal turning basin was once located in the area that is now a large open field in the south-west corner of Mountain Locks Park, adjacent the intersection of Bradley St. and Mountain St. This open area was once part of a large pond that connected lock 15 at the north end of the field to lock 16 in the east. Today it's a nice place to walk around, but a little exploring can reveal its fascinating past history.
The turning basin is significant for a couple of reasons. When the Second Welland Canal was built in 1842-1845, its route changed direction at this point from a north-south direction to one that was heading east-west. This 90 degree turn was uncharacteristic for the canal, and required a wider area of water to allow ships to pass each other and navigate the turn. The other reason for the turning basin was closely tied to Locks 16 to 21. These locks made a steep climb, were situated close together and offered no place for boats going in opposite directions to pass each other. It was therefore customary for boats to gather in the turning basin until the locks were clear and then for groups of boats to ascend locks 16 to 21 together.
ountain Locks Park is filled with remnants of the First and Second Welland Canal. To start exploring the turning basin walk north a short distance to find Lock 15 near the intersection of Mountain Rd. and Glendale Avenue, or travel east along Bradley street to find Lock 16. Much of the original retaining wall from the pond can be seen in the forested area north east of the field.
Above: 1850s map of the west end of the area that is now known as Mountain Locks Park. Water-filled channels of the era are rendered in blue. The locks of Neptune's Ladder are in the foreground. The turning basin is located between Locks 15 and 16 (image courtesy Matthew Jantz).
From Hwy 406
Exit Hwy 406 at Glendale Ave. Travel east on Glendale approximately 400 meters. Turn right onto Mountain Rd and then immediately left onto Bradley St. After approximately 400 meters parking will appear on the left side of the road.
Text and photographs on this page were graciously contributed by Matthew Jantz.
L2T 1R5 Municipality St. Catharines