By Terry Hughes
Early maps of Welland show a drainage system that ran parallel with the east bank of the second canal. With the construction of the third canal, it no longer functioned in this manner and became an unsightly body of water called McCarthy’s Pond. The local citizenry used it as a dump for articles such as tin cans, bed springs and other refuse. It became the home for a large population of rats.
When a local contractor, W.E. Phin, was awarded the project to straighten the canal between Quaker Road and Port Robinson, he was persuaded by city councillor, James O’Neil, to use the excavated earth as fill to rid the community of the unsightly pond.
Our photo for this column shows the fruits of their labour as the pond has disappeared and been replaced with a grass-covered property lined with trees overlooking the third canal. Closer observation of the photo shows the construction of the Welland Club that would function as a meeting place for Welland’s elite. That would date this picture in the year 1910.
On the west bank you see a mound of earth created with the digging of the third canal. A canaler is passing the Beatty Ship Yards which were located on King Street. They were busy building dredging equipment for use in the construction of the fourth canal. A circular bandstand would be built in the centre of the park as a home for the Welland Civic Band who played on Sundays and holiday weekends. A little over a century later, we have a beautiful park with a historic fountain everyone can enjoy.
(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. This marks the debut of his column, HERITAGE LIVES!, which will appear monthly for the time being. )