Wind Japanese and Thai

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Chew On This!

Chew On This! at Wind Japanese and Thai: Water

As Canadians, we are fortunate to have access to an abundance of fresh water, and this access to water – for industry, for household use, and for drinking – has been the quiet undercurrent of our city’s history.

So much of our early history is based on access to water. 19th century milling operations used waterpower to operate, the early canals were built to support those mills and to transport their products, and further still, water has been a central tenant of the city’s recreational activities and tourism.

In an age where we are more aware of the threats of climate change to fresh water, and indeed to our ways of life, these photos help to remind us of the power and importance of water in our community.

The ‘Garden City’ docked at Port Dalhousie, c. 1910
STCM 1974.168.6

The Great Lakes steamer ‘Garden City’ is docked at Port Dalhousie in 1910, ready to move passengers between Toronto and the many tourist attractions of Lakeside Park. This photo is an indication of the popularity of water-travel, even in the last, dying days of the ship building industry on Lake Ontario in the early twentieth century.

Construction of the QEW-Henley Bridge, 1938
STCM S1938.57.1.3

The intersection of new and old transportation networks is on full display during the 1938 construction of the new four-lane Henley bridge. Built across 12-Mile Creek and the old route of the Welland Canal confirmed the automobile as the preferred mode of transportation.

Morningstar Mill, c. 1900
STCM 2520-R

Often the first commercial industry to pop-up in a community, mills, like the Morningstar Mill, were vital to the establishment of communities like St. Catharines as the beginning of the nineteenth century. Contemporary observers frequently credited access to water-power as the life-blood of our local economy and manufacturing industry, one of the strongest in Ontario between 1840 and 1910.

Swimming Lessons at the YWCA, 1937
STCM S1937.98.5.2

Water has an important place in recreation and leisure, as well as sport and competition and learning to swim is often an important (and sometimes scary) rite of passage. This group of young swimmers learning their front stroke was photographed in 1937 next to the pool in the old YWCA once located on Queen Street.

Lock 3 of the Old (Second) Welland Canal, 1953
STCM 2006.77.1450

Snapped on December 3, 1953 from the Glenridge Bridge, this image is a reminder of the historic importance of water in our community. Within 10 years of this photograph, the remnants of Lock 3 of the Second Welland Canal (1845-1887), would be filled in as a part of the construction of Highway 406. Even at the time of this photograph, time has not been kind to the old canal with gates either rotted or lost altogether.

Shickluna Shipyards, c. 1864
STCM 1066-N

It’s hard to believe that this image depicts downtown St. Catharines circa. 1864. Photographed at the height of production, Louis Shickluna’s Shipyard was the foremost ship builder on Lake Ontario. Access to labour and water of the Welland Canal, along with a ruthless work schedule, credit Shickluna’s success. Shickluna had two ship yards, this one located on the west bank of Twelve Mile Creek, just south Lock 3, and another adjacent to Lock 4.