Construction on the Welland Ship Canal began in 1913 but progress was delayed due to a shortage of workers and material during the first World War. Work was temporarily halted but resumed in 1919 under the supervision of Alexander J. Grant, Chief Engineer. The new canal needed to be large enough to accommodate the Great Lakes steamers of the time. The route largely remained the same as the previous canal from Port Colborne to Thorold. From here, the canal followed Ten Mile Creek Valley and joined Lake Ontario at Port Weller, just east of Port Dalhousie. It was necessary to construct a harbour at Port Weller as a natural one did not exist. The canal has seven lift locks and one guard lock. It was opened in 1932 and is officially known as the Welland Ship Canal.

The Welland Ship Canal photo album includes photographs of the construction of the Welland Ship Canal from 1922 to 1933. Click here to view the finding aid:

Recent Submissions

  • Welland Ship Canal Photo Album, 1922-1933, n.d.

    An album containing photos of the construction of the Welland Ship Canal. There are 137 black and white photographs dated from 1922 to 1933. Many of the photos have captions. Photos include excavation of the guard gate site; view of guard gate structure; excavation of Ontario Paper Co. dock; mudslide at the Ontario Paper Co. dock site; west end safety weir in present canal; unwatering dams and sluice on site safety weir; cut connecting entrce. Lock 7 to present canal prism; excavating rock in prism and turning basin; channel excavation; guard and east end safety weir; canal prism looking south from guard gate; canal prism looking north from guard gate; Thorold turning basin; remains of cofferdam, safety weir; supply channel from west end safety weir; upstream side safety weir; dredging safety weir; downbound vessels awaiting opening canal at guard gate; guard gate with bridge no. 8 open; guard gate with bridge no. 10 closed; wire rope fender and machinery above guard gate; Thorold at Ontario Paper Co. dock; Beaver Dams culvert; Beaver Dams creek; G.T.R. culvert and embankment; bridge no. 10; trench for Davis culvert; Thorold-Allanburg bridge over Beaver Dams Creek; canal prism; bridge no. 11; bridge no. 12; syphon culvert site; aqueduct; rock blasting at Ramey’s bend; Wabash crossing; bridge no. 14; bridge no. 16; bridge no. 18; casting concrete piles for Welland dock; Derrick Scow “Handy Andy”; and the Administration Building. In one photograph a horse is used to help haul heavy materials.