Tag Archives: Canal

The Mug That Was The Hottest Selling Item In Welland Back In December, 1972

Brad Clements with his commemorative mug. /Joe Barkovich photos.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – The hottest selling item in Welland back in December, 1972? That’s easy: the mug sold by the Kiwanis Club to commemorate the final raising of Main Street bridge on the cold, snowy night of December 15. 

I’ll drink to that. As it turned out, thousands of Wellanders did.

Brad Clements, a Kiwanis Club member at the time, recalls the club decided to sell the mugs as part of the festivities it was organizing to celebrate the historic occasion.

The fundraiser led to debate among the membership, he said.

“Some wanted to order 300 mugs. Others wanted to order 500 mugs. When we found out we had to order a minimum of 1,000, it caused some concern over the risk we would be taking. It didn’t take long for that to turn into a joke.”

The 1,000 mugs sold out in under an hour. Most were sold from Kiwanis Club member Bill Lewis’s East Main Street pharmacy.  Clements said two subsequent orders for mugs were placed because of demand and as chronicled in Lewis’s A History Of The City Of Welland (Volume 3), 22,000 souvenir mugs were sold!

A popular sales venue was Welland market, recalled Clements but there were others too.

He remembers some buyers snapping up 10 or more mugs at a time, some as gifts for friends or family members or “people who used to live in Welland but moved away.”

A sales-duty bonus was being regaled by stories shared by mug buyers about what the bridge meant to them.

“People would tell us their stories and memories of the bridge. A lot had to do with using it as an excuse for when they were late for something,” he said.

Clements couldn’t recall the selling price of the mugs, but guessed it was “two or three dollars.”

Always a proud Wellander, he still has the mug he purchased for an event that took place 50 years ago tomorrow – Thursday, December 15, when Welland was changed forever.

“Wouldn’t part with it,” he said.

Next: Cec Mitchell writes about the night of December 15 in a “I Remember…..” piece for the blog.

Do you have one (or more) of these souvenirs collecting dust on a shelf or bookcase somewhere? What about one or two of the souvenir mugs sold by the Kiwanis Club in spring 1973 for the opening of the new canal? The club sold 11,000 of them. What a bonanza!

At The Concert: West Side Story

Friday evening’s was the finale in the Concerts on the Canal series organized by Downtown Welland BIA. It featured headline act Pink Floyd Niagara who, as always, delighted the big crowd of concert-goers on both the east and west sides of the recreational waterway, and the opener, Niagara-based Riders On The Storm, a tribute act celebrating The Doors. Also witnessing the event was a fleet of watercraft: paddleboards, kayaks and canoes in the main, their mariners enjoying up close and personal views of the popular venue from the waterway while ‘parked’ near the floating stage or as their craft drifted past. Sounds and sights helped make for a beautiful and delightful evening, but one that was bittersweet because it marked the last of the concerts and a reminder, painful for some, that summer is drawing to a close./Photos by Joe Barkovich.

Heritage Lives In Pictures: Getting Ready To Bridge The Great Dain

By Terry Hughes

Our first image, at left, shows the north end of the rowing course looking south from the “plug” toward Bridge 17. Soon construction will begin on a new crossing at Forkes Road and federal changes that could enable the city to acquire the remainder of the old canal for competitive rowing. It would offer a venue that could successfully compete and perhaps surpass the Henley course in St. Catharines.

The second photo, right, goes back to 1927 showing the same area being bridged in a similar way. The lift bridge is the same structure seen today being tested after its construction and built next to the swing span it is replacing. The size is significantly different and shows us the major improvement between the third and fourth canals. In the background the second swing bridge was located at Forkes Rd. and would be replaced with the lift span three years later.   

Next Heritage Lives In Pictures:  Controversial Area Of Dispute Between Rail And Residential Neighbours

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives In Pictures, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

Heritage Lives In Pictures: Swing Bridge Once Crossed The Two Former Locks In Port Colborne

 By Terry Hughes

In our second effort to present yesteryear and current day locations of interest, we go to Port Colborne and West Street  where a photo was recently taken looking east of the remnants of the old canal. The focus was on a metal ring that served as a bearing to support  the swing bridge that was used to cross the second and third canal lock at this point. Remember, West Street, also known as the Promenade, is directly behind. 

The second photo is from the early 1900’s before the present canal was built. East Street would be behind us before the present canal excavation demolished it. The photographer of the day is looking west with West Street in the background and the bridge filling the picture. Many of the buildings are still there housing many businesses like that fabulous candy shop!

The tunnel on the left was covered when the promenade and small boat dockage was built and was used to regulate the water levels in the older canals. The two structures over which the bridge was built were formerly locks. 

This wooden style of bridge was quite common over the third canal and was operated by placing a T-shaped key through the floor of the bridge that engaged gears turning the span. 

Buggies and early automobiles would have some difficulty passing each other while competing with pedestrian traffic.  

Next Heritage Lives In Pictures:  The Building With The Arches On Niagara Street. 

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. His opinion column, Heritage Lives In Pictures, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

No Ice Is Safe Ice, Welland Fire Chief Cautions

Ice fishing on the recreational canal/ File photo Joe Barkovich

WELLAND – With ice thawing and water runoff and rain posing a new hazard, the City of Welland reminds everyone to avoid the Welland recreational canal and all stormwater ponds.

Chief Eckhart

When the temperatures drop cold enough in the winter months, the canal freezes; however, the water underneath remains active. Due to the constantly moving water underneath the service, gaps or flooding areas where ice forms make the canal unsafe for recreational activity. Additionally, water run off weakens the ice and rain adds a risk of melt and water pooling – which may freeze and deceive users.

COVID-restrictions permitting, activities involving skating should take place at arenas or properly maintained outdoor rinks. For City-operated outdoor rinks, check the City’s website for updates. If your winter activities take you onto ice-covered bodies of water, be mindful of areas you explore.

“Avoiding the canal and stormwater ponds in the city is the best way to stay safe this winter,” said Adam Eckhart, fire chief. “We understand that many residents will enjoy winter activities that include fishing, snowmobiling, skating, and more on frozen water surfaces, and we encourage everyone to know the risks before venturing out onto the ice.”

According to Lifesaving Society, approximately 35 per cent of drownings in Canada occur from October to April when most people have no intention of going into the water. Snowmobiling and ice accidents account for most of these incidents.

Ice Safety Tips:

  • Check the ice thickness
  • Colour of ice matters; clear blue ice is the strongest, white or opaque ice is much weaker
  • stay away from ice that looks honeycombed
  • Near-shore ice is often much thicker and safer than ice farther out
  • No ice is safe, use caution around all of our bodies of water and don’t venture out alone’
  • Wear a lifejacket and survival suit; these items can preserve body heat
  • If you are going out onto the ice, know what to do if you break through

To stay safe, check the ice to make sure it’s thick enough and always wear a lifejacket during activities around the water. When in doubt, stay clear of the ice.

(Attribution: City of Welland news release)