History InSite: Lock 1, Third Welland Canal, 1168-N

A Canadian Revenue Cruiser enters the Third Welland Canal in Lock 1 in 1920. STCM 1168-N

Wineries, breweries, and distilleries were generally exempted from prohibition in Ontario (1916-1927) and were allowed to produce alcohol for export purposes. Rum runners took full advantage of alcohol production in Ontario to cover up their small-scale smuggling operations to the United States, across the Great Lakes, and on the Welland Canal.

The government’s already robust Customs Preventative Service Fleet of Revenue Cruisers was expanded into the Great Lakes to help patrol smuggling. The cruisers were fast enough to catch some of the small speedboats used by heavily armed rum runners. The cruisers were responsible for many arrests on the lakes. The hull’s intimidating lines reveal the vessel was built for speed.

Monumental Change

Port Dalhousie, c. 1930.

The photo above reveals a very different view of Port Dalhousie that most would be unfamiliar with today. Indeed, the streetscape has changed (and continues to change) dramatically across the view of this photograph. Here’s just a handful of changes:

  • Rennie Park was created from filling in the former Muir Brothers Shipyard in 1968, along with the approach to Lock 1 (2nd Canal).
  • The secondary building of Maple Leaf Rubber Co. was demolished to redirect and expand Lakeport Road across the top of Lock 1 (Third Canal) through across the top of Lock 1 (Second Canal).
  • Most recently, construction of a new residential condominium building has begun to dominate the center of this photo.

There’s More to the Story

Check out the entire History InSite installation across downtown St. Catharines and in Port Dalhousie.

About History InSite

A permanent, site specific installation, History InSite juxtaposes historical photographs with modern streetscapes by presenting the photo in, or close to, the place which it was taken.

St. Catharines has a rich photographic history and when compared to the changing streetscapes around the City, that history becomes much more meaningful, poignant, and relevant to our modern eyes.

The Downtown series was installed in July 2021. The Port Dalhousie series was installed in May 2022.

History InSite is presented by the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre.

Graffiti Report

If you spot any graffiti on our purple History InSite signs, please send us a message and photo via email museum@stcatharines.ca.