The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), June 5, 1828

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p.2 Welland Canal - Departure of the First Vessel - Saturday last was a proud day for St. Catharines, and indeed, for Upper Canada. A scene was witnessed within its borders, that will long be held in remembrance by the active friends and steady supporters of the splendid plans of internal improvement now in progress in this section of the colony - the free and uninterrupted passage of the first loaded vessel that ever floated on the waters of the Welland Canal from the village (where she was built) to Lake Ontario, a distance of five miles of artificial Steam-Boat Navigation, constructed up the valley of the 12 mile Creek, directly into the interior of the country. A scene which was at once, so grand, so novel and interesting, as to call forth the spontaneous exclamations of every liberal and patriotic spectator assembled on the joyous occasion.

It was a matter of sincere regret to many, that the proprietor of this great work, (Wm. Hamilton Merrit Esq.) was not present - being now in London endeavoring to procure the necessary means for its completion to Lake Erie; and there can be little doubt but his efforts will be crowned with success. [Journal]

The new Schooner "Welland Canal of St. Catherines," being in readiness to clear on her first voyage, with her cargo on board, lying in the Canal opposite Mr. Monson's store-house, at the foot of our village, the Lieut-Governor, and the several Officers of the Company, etc. were invited by Capt. Northrup to become his guests, and partakers of the heartfelt satisfaction of being among the first to be borne upon the bosom of those miniature seas, they themselves had been, by their untiring perseverance and assiduity, the instruments of bringing into existence. They readily accepted the offer; and at half-past 10, the word was given, when the vessel moved off majestically upon the channel of her native element, thus artificially formed by human power, with her stately masts towering above the trees of the forest, on either bank, through a track of country which scarcely two score years ago was a howling wilderness, but now abounding with highly cultivated farms and flourishing villages, and the hearty cheers of the passengers on board and the multitude of hardy pioneers and sons of the soil, assembled on the shores and surrounding highlands to view the novel scene.

On her entrance into and exit from each lock, on her way down to Port Dalhousie, she was hailed by the people, who had collected and literally lined the banks of the Canal from one village to the other, with a discharge of musketry, and loud and reiterated cheers. On passing the second lock, we took a note of the time required for drawing off the water, and ascertained it to be about six minutes and a half. During the whole passage the vessel glided smoothly and silently along the artificial channel prepared for her reception, without the least interruption or annoyance whatever; affording the most pleasing sensations to every truly patriotic beholder. [ib]

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June 5, 1828
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Montreal Gazette (Montreal, QC), June 5, 1828