The Welland Canal

Lock 3 Viewing Station

Address: 1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines
1-800-305-5134 ext 244

Come and see ships from around the world as they sail up and down the Welland Canal . The canal is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway and allows ships to transport goods between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes on a daily basis. Built in 1829 the canal was built to offer passage for cargo ships between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario , allowing the ships to safely bypass Niagara Falls .

The current canal was built in 1932 to replace the existing canals, which had proven to be too small for the ever increasing size of modern sea vessels. The canal has a total of 8 locks and is 32 kilometres long. It allows ships to climb up and down the steep Niagara Escarpment with ease, a truly amazing engineering feat! How do they do it? They use the forces of gravity and water to do the work for them. The locks are filled and emptied by water, which flows downhill from Lake Erie towards Lake Ontario , they are opened and shut to control the water flow, which allows these enormous sea fairing vessels to move with relative ease between the two lakes.

To see this amazing feat for yourself make a trip to Lock 3 in St. Catharines , which houses an impressive viewing station. The site also is home to the St. Catharines Historical Museum , The Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and a tourist information and interpretive centre where daily ship schedules are posted, along with the ships nationalities, sizes and contents of their cargoes. At the Historical Museum visitors can learn about the history of the Welland Canal and the industrial, cultural and social history of the area. There is a hands-on discovery room for children to enjoy and an impressive library which houses historic documents, maps and photographs of the area. Be sure to go to the viewing station to see ships as they move through the locks. This viewing platform offers some of the best views of the canal, allowing visitors to look down onto the ships decks and watch as the captain’s and crew’s expertly navigate their ships through the locks.

The Welland Canal Recreational Trail, a 9 kilometre trail that allows visitors to watch the ships as they pass by can also be accessed from Lock 3. The trail has proven to be one of the most popular places in St. Catharines for walkers, joggers and bikers to come and relax as they take in the picturesque sights of these massive vessels. Several park benches have been placed along the trail so you can sit and take in the sights of the busy canal.