Winter in the Welland Canal, Port Colborne

IOTW: Welland Canal

The Welland Canal connects Lakes Erie and Ontario and is a much safer transportation route for shipping than the nearby Niagara Falls, a few kilometres to the East. Our Image Of The Week is of ships wintering at the entrance to the Welland Canal in Port Colborne.

The canal freezes during the winter months, making transit through it impossible. Even when the water is not frozen the weather at this time of year is so unpredictable that it is dangerous to allow ships to navigate the series of locks between Port Colborne and Saint Catharines, the two cities at the end points of the canal. So they don’t.

Instead, the canal is closed over the winter and ships that don’t make it through before they lock the canal simply wait out the winter at whichever end of the canal they happened to be. When the canal reopens in Spring, they are the first ships through and the whole cycle begins again.

It is not unusual to see five or even six ships wintering here in Port Colborne. In this shot, taken at the start of Winter and before the iconic old water tower was removed, there are only two. They would be joined over time by others awaiting Spring. Winter is harsh, but beautiful.

Click for larger image

Prints available for all images by request.
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